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Before and after in Rich Passage

"Scientists have finished gathering preliminary data through Rich Passage and installing devices to monitor how fast ferry service impacts beaches.There is a whole series of measurements, not just erosion. We're looking at kelp, sub-tidal .... There are a whole bunch of different factors that are being looked at, said Joann Hamick, spokeswoman for the Rich Passage wave action study team.Scientists recorded existing conditions of Rich Passage beaches and bulkheads absent the effects of the high-speed Chinook foot ferry. They will continue to collect data during the summer as the Chinook and Snohomish make fast runs between Bremerton and Seattle.Usually, it takes a couple monitorings to see if there is a trend. This is the first set of measurements following the start-up of the fast ferries, Hamick said.Collecting beach data before and after the speed-up will allow for more concrete conclusions on the effects of the ferries on beaches, said Warren Olson, a member of the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council and the outgoing executive director of the county's Economic Development Council.And because there are fewer storms during the summer months, changes to the beaches in coming weeks will likely come from wakes caused by the ferries.When the Supreme Court listed the injunction, it kind of changed the study because we could actually study the ferries operating. What we did was, we put monitoring devices in place and we've taken baseline measurements before the ferries speeded up, Hamick said.After an injunction against the service was lifted in March, WSF officials agreed to postpone fast ferry service to allow scientists to gather baseline information.Coastal engineers took samples of grain size and soil type, and biologists gathered samples of the habitat conditions, which they will monitor over the next year for changes.Scientists expect to return to Rich Passage later this month and in August and October to repeat beach surveys and sampling."

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