Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program (ESRP) » Learning Program

Informing Restoration Projects

The ESRP Learning Program supports restoration of large and complex ecosystems subject to multiple projects, and are intended to improve effectiveness or efficiency of a class of projects where there is uncertainty about ecological outcomes. This component of ESRP's investment strategy aims to clearly identify the needs/problems to be addressed that will influence restoration and protection project development and selection in Puget Sound.

ESRP learning projects will provide insight and analysis into the options available to solve complex problems leading to nearshore and salmon recovery in Puget Sound's nearshore. It is our goal to fund efforts that use scientific methods to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of future ESRP program investments.

ESRP's learning project program is required by our authorizing program guidance, developed by the Puget Sound Nearshore and Ecosystem Restoration Project.

Strong learning projects improve our ability to select treatment locations and management measures, and help designers evaluate the consequences of alternative actions. We organize our learning by landform to consider the unique dynamics of delta, beach, and embayment ecosystems. Please see below for a list of completed and ongoing projects and links to their associated wiki pages.

Learning Program Criteria

# Criterion Description Threshold for Deferral Evidence 
1 Importance


Strong proposals have examined our ability to predict project outcomes, and have recognized uncertainty resulting in a risk of failure to achieve restoration goals. The proposal does not improve a low predictive ability that affects the ecological, social, or economic success or failure of ESRP capital projects.

- Review of existing literature

- Consideration of recent unpublished work

- Identifies specific risk of failure associated with a capital project

2 Efficiency

(10 pts)

Strong projects have identified a short and efficient pathway to obtaining new knowledge. Projects should be cost-effective, scientifically rigorous, and produce a clear deliverable within a specific and disclosed time frame. The proposed project is unlikely to reliably generate new and impactful knowledge in a known frame.

- A timeline and budget for completion has been identified

- A rigorous analytical method has been proposed including a sampling strategy related to an understanding of the parameters in question

- Factors affecting noise/signal ratio and temporal and spatial variation have been addressed

3 Policy Impact

(10 pts)

Strong projects specifically identify how different study outcomes might directly affect capital program policies and decisions that affect future efforts. The proposal does not relate to the actions that are anticipated to be funded by the ESRP program, or will not affect decision making.

- The project type affected is an important component of nearshore process-based restoration

- A specific decision point has been identified in the project selection and design cycle that will be affected

4 Transferability

(10 pts)

Strong projects produce evidence that is broadly applicable to a wide range of similar ecological systems.  The learning is specific to an individual site and will not provide substantive benefits to decision making at other sites.

- Clear analysis of the representativeness of the study site within a population of sites

- Strong isolation of factors and co-factors

5 Learning Priority

(5 pts)

Strong projects address programmatic learning objectives.  NA - The proposal addresses the issues described in the learning objectives text

Delta Learning Projects


Port Susan Bay Monitoring

Nisqually Monitoring

Fisher Slough Monitoring

NOAA Tidegate Study

Tidal Geometry Model

Tidal Channel Development Rate Model


Large Landscape-Scale Estuary Restoration Planning

Restoring Sediment Supply to Sustain Delta Marsh – Nisqually

Restoration Planning for Sea Level and Agriculture

Estimating density-dependent rearing limitations for juvenile Chinook salmon in estuaries

Beach Learning Projects


Measuring coastal bluff recession rates in Puget Sound

Mapping bluffs and beaches for sediment supply


Bulkhead removal planning

Railroad Grade Beach Nourishment Planning

Identifying Target Beaches for Restoration & Protection

Embayment Learning Projects


Tidal Embayment Restoration Design Guidelines

Marine Fish Access Restoration Feasibility

Questions about the Learning Program? Email Tish Conway-Cranos (, ESRP Nearshore Science Manager.

Grant Information
The 2018 Learning Program grant competition has closed.

To learn more about the application process, see the latest RFP here.

Port Susan Bay restoration project
Natural Resources Building
1111 Washington St. SE
Olympia, WA 98501
Mailing Address:
Natural Resources Building
600 Capitol Way N
Olympia, WA 98501
Jay Krienitz, ESRP Manager
Phone: 360.902.2572