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Marine Sciences Division

Amy Borde

Amy Borde

Marine Sciences Laboratory
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
1529 West Sequim Bay Road
Sequim, Washington 98382


Amy Borde is a senior scientist with over 15 years of experience in coastal ecology and restoration. Her research has included assessment, restoration, and monitoring of eelgrass meadows, tidal marshes, and tidal freshwater swamps. She has also led several large national-scale reviews on wetland functions and restoration-related issues for NOAA and EPA.

Research Interests

  • Columbia River Estuary Monitoring: In the Columbia River Estuary Ms. Borde has been involved in multiple estuary-wide studies focused on tidal wetland habitats for BPA, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership. These studies range in scope from planning and prioritizing restoration projects to monitoring the effectiveness of restoration actions. Currently, she is leading a study to evaluate conditions at a suite of reference sites representing all types of tidal wetland habitat of the Columbia floodplain below Bonneville dam. Habitat evaluations include eelgrass assessments at various locations near the mouth, over 50 brackish and tidal freshwater wetland sites throughout the estuary, and four restoration sites. She also is a primary contributor to the estuary restoration monitoring protocols for habitat restoration.
  • Kitsap County Nearshore Assessment and Restoration Prioritization: This study, led by Ms. Borde, was conducted to provide necessary information to Kitsap County to help them update their shoreline master plan and to improve nearshore management decision-making. The project included the development of a stressor-based GIS model to determine the relative level of disturbance to nearshore assessment units. The model was applied at two scales: the site and the drift cell in order to determine local versus landscape level disturbances. The results were validated by conducting a rapid functional assessment in the field and comparing the result the disturbance-based model results. The information from the GIS model was used as part of a framework to prioritize restoration projects in the region.
  • NOAA Restoration Center Tidal Marsh Restoration Guide: The development of this national guidance manual, led by Ms. Borde, is intended to provide background information and guidance to restoration practitioners. Case studies are provided where applicable, and evaluations are aimed at providing the restoration practitioner with comparative approaches for planning, designing, implementation, and assessment practices. Information is also provided on the application of adaptive management for tidal marsh restoration, with a focus on monitoring to determine restoration success, improve the state of the science, and advance restoration technologies. This document includes an overview of tidal marsh restoration research and discusses the application of the findings to help improve the restoration process and practices. Other factors related to restoration, including project communication, public outreach, site maintenance, and stewardship are also covered. The guidelines conclude with a summary to help restoration practitioners make informed decisions to improve tidal marsh restoration success.
  • EPA Isolated Wetlands Review: In this program, Ms. Borde reviewed the ecological function of isolated wetlands for use in the valuation of societal services provided by these systems. Functions included flood attenuation, habitat for migratory waterfowl, game, and protected species, water quality improvement, groundwater recharge, and other parameters relative to water use, agriculture, tourism, etc. This information was used by the EPA in the development of regulations for the protection of isolated wetland systems.
  • NOAA Coastal Services Center Habitat Restoration Characterization: This issue-based characterization was conducted for NOAA CSC for use on their website. The information is intended for use by resource managers interested in conducting coastal habitat restoration. The content focused on a systematic approach to planning and conducting habitat restoration and a national review of innovative and successful restoration projects and programs. Ms. Borde was the project manager and conducted the national review.
  • Pierce County Eelgrass Damage Assessment: This study was conducted to determine the potential effects of illegal geoduck harvesting and seeding on existing eelgrass meadows in the vicinity of Purdy Spit, Washington. Ms. Borde participated in a habitat equivalency analysis (HEA) to determine the potential loss of habitat value associated with the harvest and seeding activities at the site. Diver surveys, underwater videography, and side-scan sonar were conducted to determine the health and spatial coverage of eelgrass in the damaged and reference areas. Addition information from aerial photos and previous studies at the site were also evaluated to determine conditions at the site prior to any potential disturbance.
  • King County Nearshore Habitat Mapping: This assessment of 22 km of nearshore habitat was conducted for the purpose of siting a new treatment outfall. A fundamental aspect of the assessment was the development of a database and maps on the types, location, and quantification of aquatic habitats and fisheries resources, including salmonids, crabs, flatfish, geoduck, and birds. Ms. Borde incorporated side-scan and video data into a GIS system for final map production. Combined, the side-scan and videography overlaid into the GIS will provide imagery never-before recorded in this region and will be an invaluable resource for habitat assessment. From the images, various vegetated habitats and surface sediment types (e.g., cobble, sand, mud, seaweed, kelp, mixed eelgrass and seaweed) were clearly delineated.
  • Pacific Northwest Coastal Ecosystems Regional Study (PNCERS): This long-term study addressed how salmon are affected by variability’s in climate, marine ecosystems, estuarine and riverine ecosystem productivity, and human activities, and the socio-economic consequences of ecosystem change. Ms. Borde’s role in this study involved reviewing the effects of human intervention in the coastal ecosystem; conducting a retrospective analysis of habitats in four coastal estuaries through GIS evaluation of existing and historic habitat; and participating in establishing and monitoring long-term field study sites.
  • Washington State Department of Transportation Marine Biology Program: This program includes a series of marine biological studies such as inventories, restoration, monitoring, diver surveys, and permit coordination. Specifically, as part of the mitigation plan for terminal expansion at the Clinton Ferry Terminal Ms. Borde assisted in developing innovative techniques for eelgrass transplanting, and participated in planting, monitoring, analysis, and mapping for this 10+ year restoration and monitoring project.

Education and Credentials

  • BS Biology, University of New Mexico, 1990
  • BS Environmental Policy and Assessment, Western Washington University, 1995

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • Society of Wetland Scientists
  • Coast and Estuarine Research Federation

PNNL Publications


  • Diefenderfer HL, AB Borde, IA Sinks, VI Cullinan, and SA Zimmerman. 2016. Columbia Estuary Ecosystem Restoration Program: Restoration Design Challenges for Topographic Mounds, Channel Outlets, and Reed CanarygrassPNNL-24676, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Diefenderfer HL, GE Johnson, RM Thom, KE Buenau, LA Weitkamp, CM Woodley, AB Borde, and RK Kropp. 2016. "Evidence-based Evaluation of the Cumulative Effects of Ecosystem Restoration." Ecosphere 7(3):e01242.  doi:10.1002/ecs2.1242
  • Jay DA, AB Borde, and HL Diefenderfer. 2016. "Tidal-Fluvial and Estuarine Processes in the Lower Columbia River: II. Water Level Models, Floodplain Wetland Inundation, and System Zones." Estuaries and Coasts 39(5):1299-1324.  doi:10.1007/s12237-016-0082-4


  • Coleman AM, HL Diefenderfer, DL Ward, and AB Borde. 2015. "A Spatially Based Area-Time Inundation Index Model Developed to Assess Habitat Opportunity in Tidal-Fluvial Wetlands and Restoration Sites." Ecological Engineering 82:624-642.  doi:10.1016/j.ecoleng.2015.05.006
  • Jay DA, K Leffler, HL Diefenderfer, and AB Borde. 2015. "Tidal-Fluvial and Estuarine Processes in the Lower Columbia River: I. Along-channel Water Level Variations, Pacific Ocean to Bonneville Dam." Estuaries and Coasts 38(2):415-433.  doi:10.1007/s12237-014-9819-0
  • Thom RM, and AB Borde. 2015. "ESTUARINE HABITAT RESTORATION." In Encyclopedia of Estuaries, ed. MJ Kennish, pp. 273-285.  Springer, Amsterdam, Netherlands.  doi:10.1007/978-94-017-8801-4_78


  • Thom RM, SL Southard, and AB Borde. 2014. "Climate-linked mechanisms driving spatial and temporal variation in eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) growth and assemblage structure in Pacific Northwest estuaries, USA ." Journal of Coastal Research. JCR Fall 2014(68):1-11.  doi:10.2112/SI68-001.1




  • Johnson GE, A Storch, JR Skalski, AJ Bryson, C Mallette, AB Borde, E Van Dyke, KL Sobocinski, NK Sather, D Teel, EM Dawley, GR Ploskey, TA Jones, SA Zimmerman, and DR Kuligowski. 2011. Ecology of Juvenile Salmon in Shallow Tidal Freshwater Habitats of the Lower Columbia River, 2007-2010PNNL-20083, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Thom RM, HL Diefenderfer, JE Adkins, C Judd, MG Anderson, KE Buenau, AB Borde, and GE Johnson. 2011. "Guidelines, processes and tools for coastal ecosystem restoration, with examples from the United States." Plankton & Benthos Research 5(Supplement):185-201.  doi:10.3800/pbr.5.185




  • Diefenderfer HL, AM Coleman, AB Borde, and IA Sinks. 2008. "Hydraulic Geometry and Microtopography of Tidal Freshwater Forested Wetlands and Implications for Restoration, Columbia River, U.S.A." International Journal of Ecohydrology & Hydrobiology 8(2-4):339-361.  doi:10.2478/v10104-009-0027-7
  • Johnson GE, HL Diefenderfer, AB Borde, EM Dawley, BD Ebberts, DA Putman, GC Roegner, M Russell, JR Skalski, RM Thom, and J Vavrinec, III. 2008. Evaluating Cumulative Ecosystem Response to Restoration Projects in the Columbia River Estuary, Annual Report 2007PNNL-17437, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Roegner GC, HL Diefenderfer, AB Borde, RM Thom, EM Dawley, AH Whiting, SA Zimmerman, and GE Johnson. 2008. Protocols for Monitoring Habitat Restoration Projects in the Lower Columbia River and EstuaryPNNL-15793, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Thom RM, SL Southard, AB Borde, and P Stoltz. 2008. "Light Requirements for Growth and Survival of Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) in Pacific Northwest (USA) Estuaries." Estuaries and Coasts 31(5):969-980.  doi:10.1007/s12237-008-9082-3
  • Thom RM, SS Southard, AB Borde, and P Stoltz. 2008. "Light Requirements for Growth and Survival of Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) in Pacific Northwest (USA) Estuaries." Estuaries and Coasts 31(5):969-980.  doi:10.1007/s12237-008-9082-3




  • Evans NR, GD Williams, RM Thom, and AB Borde. 2005. "Prioritizing Restoration Sites in the Columbia River Estuary." In Proceedings of the 25th Annual ESRI International User Conference, July 25-29, 2005, San Diego, California.  ESRI International, Redlands, CA. 
  • Thom RM, GD Williams, AB Borde, JA Southard, SL Sargeant, DL Woodruff, JC Laufle, and S Glasoe. 2005. "Adaptively Addressing Uncertainty in Estuarine and Near Coastal Restoration Projects." Journal of Coastal Research. JCR 40(sp. iss.):94-108. 


  • Diefenderfer HL, SL Sargeant, RM Thom, AB Borde, PF Gayaldo, CA Curtis, BL Court, DM Pierce, and DS Robison. 2004. "Demonstration Dock Designed to Benefit Eelgrass Habitat Restoration (Washington)." Ecological Restoration 22(2):140-141. 
  • Williams GD, RM Thom, NR Evans, AB Borde, and PN Best. 2004. "Bainbridge Island Nearshore Habitat Characterization and Assessment." In 2003 Georgia Basin/Puget Sound Research Conference, March 31 - April 3, 2003, Vancouver, BC (Canada), ed. TW Droscher and DA Fraser.  Puget Sound Action Team, Olympia, WA. 
  • Thom RM, GD Williams, and AB Borde. 2004. "Conceptual Models as a Tool for Assessing, Restoring, and Managing Puget Sound Habitats and Resources ." In 2003 Georgia Basin/Puget Sound Resarch Conference Proceedings, March 31-April 3, 2003, Vancouver, BC (Canada), ed. TW Droscher and DA Fraser.  Puget Sound Action Team, Olympia, WA. 
  • Woodruff DL, AB Borde, R Garono, C Simenstad, and J Norris. 2004. "Nearshore Habitat Mapping In Hood Canal Using Underwater Video and Hyperspectral Imaging." In 2003 Georgia Basin/Puget Sound Research Conference, March 31 - April 3, 2003, Vancouver, BC , ed. TW Droscher and DA Fraser.  Puget Sound Action Team, Olympia, WA. 


  • Borde AB, RM Thom, S Rumrill, and LM Miller. 2003. "Geospatial Habitat Analysis in Pacific Northwest Coastal Estuaries." Estuaries 26(4B):1104-1116. 
  • Diefenderfer HL, SL Sargeant, RM Thom, AB Borde, PF Gayaldo, CA Curtis, BL Court, DM Pierce, and DS Robison. 2003. "Dock Design to Facilitate the Restoration of Eelgrass in Port Townsend Bay, Washington." In Assembling the Pieces - Restoration, Design and Landscape Ecology: Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Society for Ecological Restoration International, November 19-22, 2003, Austin, Texas.  Society for Ecological Restoration International, Tucson, AZ. 
  • Sargeant SL, RM Thom, HL Diefenderfer, AB Borde, and JA Southard. 2003. "Evaluation of Methods to Increase Light under Large Overwater Structures." In 2003 Georgia Basin/Puget Sound Research Conference Proceedings, Vancouver, BC, March 31 - April 3, 2003, ed. TW Droscher and DA Fraser.  Puget Sound Action Team, Olympia, WA. 
  • Thom RM, AB Borde, S Rumrill, DL Woodruff, GD Williams, JA Southard, and SL Sargeant. 2003. "Factors Influencing Spatial and Annual Variability in Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) Meadows in Willapa Bay, Washington, and Coos Bay, Oregon, Estuaries." Estuaries 26(4B):1117-1129. 


  • Blanton SL, RM Thom, AB Borde, HL Diefenderfer, and JA Southard. 2002. Evaluation of Methods to Increase Light Under Ferry TerminalsPNNL-13714, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Thom RM, AB Borde, GD Williams, JA Southard, and SL Blanton. 2002. "Adaptive Management to Improve Seagrass Restoration Success." In Watershed 2002: Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation, February 23-27, 2002, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, pp. 362-373.  Water Environment Federation, Alexandria, VA. 
  • Thom RM, R Zeigler, and AB Borde. 2002. "Floristic Development Patterns in a Restored Elk River Estuarine Marsh, Grays Harbor, Washington." Restoration Ecology 10(3):487-496. 
  • Thom RM, SL Blanton, AB Borde, GD Williams, DL Woodruff, and MH Huesemann. 2002. "Investigations into Wetland Carbon Sequestration as Remediation for Global Warming ." In International Conference on Wetlands and Remediation; Wetlands and Remediation II, ed. KW Nehring and SE Brauning, pp. 311-320.  Battelle Press, Columbus, OH. 


  • Thom RM, AB Borde, KO Richter, and LF Hibler. 2001. "Influence of Urbanization on Ecological Processes in Wetlands ." In Land Use and Watersheds : Human Influence on Hydrology and Geomorphology in Urban and Forest Areas. Water Science and Application, vol. 2, ed. Mark Wigmosta and Stephen Burges, pp. 5-16.  American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC. 
  • Thom RM, AB Borde, GD Williams, JA Southard, SL Blanton, and DL Woodruff. 2001. "Effects of Multiple Stressors on Eelgrass Restoration Projects." In Proceedings of Puget Sound Research 2001, the fifth Puget Sound Research Conference, vol. 1, ed. Droscher, Toni.  Puget Sound Water Quality Action Team, Olympia, WA. 
  • Thom RM, AB Borde, SL Blanton, DL Woodruff, and GD Williams. 2001. "The Influence of Climate Variation and Change on Structure and Processes in Nearshore Vegetated Communities of Puget Sound and other Northwest Estuaries." In Proceedings of the 2001 Puget Sound Research Conference.  Puget Sound Water Quality Action Team, Olympia, WA. 


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Marine Sciences Laboratory
1529 W. Sequim Bay Road
Sequim, WA 98382
Phone: (360) 683-4151
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