It's the Little Things

Wooded cove with calm waters on Turn Island in the San Juan Islands

Thursday, June 2, 2022
4:30 p.m. PT




Check out this video to watch the It's The Little Things.

Forage Fish Ecology and Management in the Salish Sea

Environmental Speaker Series

Brought to you by:
WWU College of the Environment
in partnership with the WWU Alumni Association


Forage fish are small, schooling fish that are highly abundant and foundational in most marine ecosystems. Forage fish are delicious and nutritious and, therefore, are crucial delivery systems of nutrients and energy to many fish, birds, and mammals. The shallow, nearshore habitats of the Salish Sea are important nursery areas for forage fish as well as the juveniles of other important species, including Pacific salmonids, but shorelines are heavily impacted by human activities, leading to a heavy emphasis in the region on restoring and preserving natural shoreline habitat. But what really limits forage fish populations? Does shoreline restoration matter to juvenile fishes, including salmon?

In this talk, Dr. Tessa Francis will describe the importance of forage fish to the Salish Sea ecosystem, as well as some of the major threats to their conservation, with a focus on Pacific herring. She will also talk about what limits herring populations, which have been in decline in recent years in the Salish Sea, and potential management strategies and challenges. And she will share results from a project aimed at understanding the benefits of one management strategy, shoreline armor removal, for juvenile fish. 

More information about the speaker series is available here, and past Environmental Speaker Series recordings are available here.

We are excited that we will be live-streaming from a WWU classroom for the webinar for our off-campus audience. Due to the pandemic, only WWU students will be in-person for the presentation but we look forward to welcoming you all to class virtually. 

Dr. Tessa Francis

Dr. Tessa Francis


Dr. Tessa Francis is the Lead Ecosystem Ecologist at the University of Washington Tacoma’s Puget Sound Institute, and the Managing Director of the Ocean Modeling Forum. She is an aquatic ecologist, working to connect science to decisions in a variety of settings. Tessa currently leads several research projects related to the conservation and management of coastal social-ecological systems, employing a combination of field observations, qualitative and quantitative analytical approaches with agency, tribal and First Nations, industry, NGO and academic partners. Tessa holds a BA in Political Science from UC Berkeley, a BS in Wildlife Science from the University of Washington, and a PhD in Zoology and Urban Ecology from the University of Washington.

Questions and Accommodations

Stefan Freelan

Stefan Freelan is the coordinator of the Environmental Speaker Series. Send email to or call (360) 650-2949 if you have any questions or comments.
There will be auto-captions available for this event.