Clear Lake - Ecological Services
Southwest Region
"Conserving the Nature of America"



Last updated: May 8, 2012


Federal Activities



Water Development Projects

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides recommendations to other Federal agencies on the potential impacts to fish and wildlife resources from proposed water development projects.  For example, following field investigations, in collaboration with Texas Parks and Wildlife staff at the J. D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area and Coastal Fisheries Office in Port Arthur, the Service provided recommendations on the Taylor Bayou Section 1135 Project.  This project studied the need to replace an existing saltwater barrier structure on Taylor Bayou in Jefferson County. The existing structure, constructed in c. 1945, is failing.

FWS Biologists John Huffman, Marty Underwood & Catherine Likker at Taylor Bayou.
F&W Biologists John Huffman, Marty Underwood & Catherine Liller
assessing potential impacts of salt water intrusion to Taylor Bayou wetlands.
(Photo by Scott Williams)

The Service's field investigations and recommendations addressed potential upstream impacts of saltwater intrusion to fish and wildlife resources if the existing structure fails.  An analysis using GIS supplemented with ground-truthing suggests habitat potentially affected by saltwater intrusion within the project area includes approximately 32,655 acres of predominately fresh to intermediate marsh, and 3,530 acres of forested wetlands.  The marshes and forests are variously dominated by Taxodium distichum (bald cypress), Acer rubrum var.drummondii (Drummond's red-maple), Salix nigra (black willow), Quercus phellos (willow oak), Q. lyrata (overcup oak), Fraxinus caroliniana (water ash), and Pelltandra virginica (virginia arrowarum), Scirpus californicus (California bulrush), S. americanus (Olney bulrush), Spartina patens (marsh-hay cord-grass), Phragmites autralis (southern reed), Sagittaria lancifolia (lance-leaf arrowhead, Zizaniopsis miliacea (southern wildrice), Typha latifolia (cattail), and Sesbania spp. (rattlebush).

 

David Rosen, Neches River
David Rosen, F&W Biologist, assessing potential impact of Federal
project to forested wetlands on the Neches River
(Photo by Phil Glass)

Stands of submerged aquatic macrophytes are frequent in the study area, and can include Cabomba caroliniana (carolina fanwort), Ceratophyllum demersum (coon's-tail hornwort), Potamogeton nodosus (long-leaf pondweed), and Utricularia spp. (bladderworts). These habitats provide critical resources for fish and wildlife, such as migratory songbirds, wintering and migrating waterfowl and other water birds, amphibians, reptiles, and commercially important aquatic species including blue crab (Callinectus sapidus) and white shrimp.

 


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