Implications of Water and Sediment Quality Distribution for Seagrass Restoration in West Bay of the St. Andrew Bay System.
Jon M. Hemming Michael Brim Robert Jarvis
97 - 108
Seagrass losses have been reported for the area of St. Andrew Bay known as West Bay, in Bay County, Florida. Utilizing both field density observations and aerial photography extrapolation for 1953, 1964, 1980, and 1992 images, estimated seagrass losses from West Bay have been reported by the U.S. Geological Survey to be over 1,000 acres or approximately 50%. Noteworthy anthropogenic events altering the condition of West Bay during this time period have included: 1) U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (USCOE) construction of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) between Choctawhatchee Bay and West Bay in 1938; 2) the creation of wetland drainage canals for both transportation and silvicultural purposes around the 1960s; 3) the 1970 implementation of an aquacultural endeavor, and 4) the 1971 introduction of a wastewater effluent to southern West Bay from a municipal sewage treatment plant. In an effort to better understand the cause of seagrass losses for the purpose of designing restoration efforts, a water and sediment quality survey was conducted. Suspected sediment contamination (potentially resulting from extensive use of antifouling coatings for nets and equipment during the aquacultural enterprise) was not confirmed with sediment sampling and analyses for metals and organotin compounds. Water column surveys revealed important differences in turbidity (NTU), water clarity (Secchi depth), and salinity (ppt). However, small differences in dissolved oxygen (mg/L), pH (SU), chlorophyll a (-g/L), and temperature (EC) were not thought as important to seagrass loss or restoration efforts. Differences in water quality appeared to be heavily dependent on depth, wind direction, recent precipitation, tidal flow, and proximity to points of allochthonous inputs such as the GIWW, wetland drainage canals, stormwater runoff, and a wastewater effluent outfall.
Florida Academy of Sciences
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