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Information:

SEAGRASS WORKGROUP MEETING
March 31, 2010

Attendees:
Danny Allen (HNTB), Charlie Belaire (Belaire Environmental), Stacey Benningfield (HNTB), Kirk Cammarata (TAMUCC), Paul Carangelo (Port of Corpus Christi), Cindy Contreras (TPWD), Hudson DeYoe (UT Pan Am), Ken Dunton (UTMSI), Mark Fisher (TCEQ), Norma Garza (TxDOT), Robin Gelston (TxDOT), Richard Gonzales (GoMF), Faye Grubbs (TPWD), Beau Hardegree (USFWS), Marty Heaney (Bio-West), Seneca Holland (TAMUCC-HRI), Nathan Kuhn (TPWD), Patrick Larkin (TAMUCC), Sonja Najera (TNC), David Newstead (CBBEP), Amy Nunez (GLO), Chris Onuf, Warren Pulich (Tx State University-RSI), Pat Radloff (TPWD), Peter Schaefer (TCEQ), Angela Schrift (TPWD), Paul Silva (TPWD), Scot Sullivan (TxDOT), Jace Tunnell (CBBEP), John Wood (TAMUCC-HRI).By phone: Barbra Keeler (EPA), Bill Harrison (TCEQ)

All items requiring action by either a workgroup member or the entire workgroup are underlined below.

The next meeting of the Seagrass Monitoring Workgroup will be on June 30, 2010 (Wednesday), at CBBEP's offices in Corpus Christi, from 10 am-1 pm. Please mark your calendars now for this date.

Updates
Faye Grubbs mentioned that there will be two public hearings (listed below) scheduled to gather feedback on the proposal for Redfish Bay State Scientific Area (RBSSA) to remove the five-year term from the RBSSA designation ensuring continuation of the no-uprooting regulation.

A final decision will be made by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at the May meeting in Austin. Results from the seagrass studies that have been conducted over the past five years support the continuation of this regulation. Additionally, recently this research has been in two different publications: Lone Star Outdoor News and Coastal Services (NOAA publication).

Public Hearings:
7pm April 20, 2010, Aransas County, County Court House, Commissioners Courtroom, 301 N Live Oak St., Rockport, TX
7pm April 27, 2010, Bexar County, Lion's Field Adult and Senior Community Center
2809 Broadway St., San Antonio, TX

Sonja Najera is seeking out aerial imagery of the upper Laguna Madre that has a resolution of at least fourth of a meter. They are going to determine

if the recently added channel markers were effective at reducing scars in the seagrass beds.

Hudson DeYoe reported that brown tide has been in the Lower Laguna Madre since early winter.

Cindy Contreras reported on the progress of the seagrass study that she and others are working on. Three sampling trips are scheduled this year with a final report due to the GLO in spring of 2011.

John Wood reported that NOAA recently released an online benthic atlas (www.csc.noaa.gov/texasatlas). Additionally, TPWD is trying to put together a statewide/regional atlas using the same technologies with half a meter 2009 NAIP imagery.

Richard Gonzales reported that the first ever Seagrass festival was successfully launched on the first Friday in March (March 5, 2010). He will have a tent set up at the Shrimporee in Aransas Pass (June 11, 12, 13) as well.

Discussion of the Management Chapter of the Seagrass Conservation Plan for Texas (1998) resulting from the Seagrass Conservation Plan Review Workshop on June 11-12, 2009 (Discussion leaders: Carangelo and Hardegree).

Paul and Beau gave an overview of the process that they used and the problems that they encountered in incorporating all the comments they received at the workshop. They pointed out new and/or controversial issues. Workgroup members were asked to provide any additional comments they had on the chapter to Paul or Beau by no later than April 16th. At that time, Paul and Beau will attempt to incorporate these final comments and then forward to Chris Onuf for incorporation in the proceedings. Workgroup members should review the process that Beau and Paul used to create the language in the document before sending comments. Also, new suggestions should include a detailed justification as to why the edit should be added. Any major suggestions for additions should include language fleshing out the recommendation, rather than leaving it up to Beau or Paul to figure out.

Issues that may need consideration in the future:
1) Define short and long term goals.
2) What form should the conference proceedings take (e.g., separate document from original plan, addendum to original plan, etc.)?
3) Should we incorporate information about the goals that have been accomplished?

Presentations on the proposed South Padre Island Causeway project

Stacy Benningfield gave an overview of the project, a summary of the project history, and its current status. Danny Allen described monitoring that they were conducting to characterize the status of seagrasses in the project area. Charlie Belaire discussed various seagrass restoration and/or creation projects that he had completed in the past. Copies of these presentations are available upon request.

(They are too large to include them all as attachments).