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Information:

Seagrass Workgroup Meeting, September 10, 2010

Attendees:

Nathan Kuhn (TPWD), Beau Hardegree (USFWS), Seneca Holland (TAMUCC-HRI), Jim Simons (TPWD), Ed Hegen (TPWD), Kirk Cammarata (TAMUCC), Cindy Contreras (TPWD), Ken Dunton (UTMSI), Richard Gonzales (GoMF), Faye Grubbs (TPWD), Patrick Larkin (TAMUCC), Amy Nunez (GLO), Warren Pulich (Tx State University - RSI), Pat Radloff (TPWD), Peter Schaefer (TCEQ), Scot Sullivan (TxDOT), Jace Tunnell (CBBEP), Ray Allen (CBBEP), Chris Wilson (UTMSI), Rosario Martinez (CBBEP), Leo Trevino (CBBEP).

By phone: Barbara Keeler (EPA), Bill Harrison (TCEQ), Hudson DeYoe (UT Pan Am), Celina Gauthier (UH-Clear Lake)

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 January 19, 2011 (Wednesday), at CBBEP's offices in Corpus Christi, from 10 am-1 pm. Please mark your calendars now for this date.

Updates

Patrick Larkin mentioned some results of a seagrass genetics study he is conducting. He stated that he found that the Laguna Madre appears to have the most genetically diverse population of those areas he studied and that the entire South Bay population appears to be a clone of 1 or 2 individuals.

Beau Hardegree mentioned the results of a Goose Island seagrass survey as part of a marsh restoration project at the state park. Breakwaters had been constructed to protect a marsh area that was restored. It was believed that the calm waters behind the breakwater would encourage seagrass recruitment in the area. However, instead the breakwaters encouraged sedimentation that will result in additional marsh habitat (rather than seagrass habitat) being created.

Jim Simons mentioned that TPW is conducting a groundtruthing effort of 2009 NAIP imagery from Galveston Bay all the way to the Mexico border. This data will be used to update the NOAA benthic atlas.

Richard Gonzales announced that the next World Seagrass Day Festival will be held on March 4, 2011, in Aransas Pass and suggested that the workgroup might have its meeting for the spring there on that date. He also requested that all members interested in presenting at the festival contact him.

Faye Grubbs discussed the most recent results of an ongoing TPW study to monitor the recovery of seagrass prop scars in Redfish Bay. One major finding was that 7 of an original 12 scars in Thalassia had fully recovered since the study's initiation. She also stated that Thalassia flowers and fruits had been observed on seagrasses in Redfish Bay. Finally, she mentioned that the Redfish Bay State Scientific Area has now been permanently designated as such, and that TPWD is looking to expand this protection into other seagrass areas in the future.

Pat Radloff noted that her team had completed the 2009 aerial imagery analysis for the CMP seagrass study they are conducting in Port Bay and East Flats and that they will be acquiring 2010 imagery soon. They are also using a transect analysis method originally designed by

Washington State University.

Cindy Contreras added that 2 of the 3 field visits for this CMP grant had been done, and that they plan to write the project report this winter.

Gulf of Mexico Alliance Data Search and Compilation Efforts (Seneca Holland)
The Coastal and Marine Geospatial Lab at the Harte Research Institute (HRI) is engaged in a geospatial (habitat) data search and compilation effort in the state of Texas. This is a Gulf of Mexico Alliance supported activity. They are currently focusing their search efforts on academic, NGO, and community datasets for the following layers:

1- Seagrass

2- Emergent vegetation

3- Sediment maps

3- Oyster maps

4- Bathymetry

5- Topography

6- Intertidal maps

7- Hardbottom

All seagrass monitoring workgroup members with this type of data are encouraged to share their information with HRI. If you have data that you would like to share, please contact Seneca Holland at seneca.holland@tamucc.edu

Additionally, William Nichols at HRI is currently developing a web mapping application which will allow Gulf of Mexico researchers to view and share data acquisition plans. This application will be released in the next few months. For more information please contact William Nichols at William.nichols@tamucc.edu.

An Assessment of Little Bay Water and Sediment Quality in Relation to Indices of Seagrass Condition (Chris Wilson)
Little Bay has undergone extreme physical change that has permanently altered its hydrological connections to Aransas Bay. Concentrations of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) in Tule Creek generally exceed 10 mg L-1, but are two orders of magnitude less in Little Bay. The DIN appears to originate from non-point sources (e.g. groundwater and run-off). The water quality criteria in Little Bay appear acceptable for seagrass growth, but other factors, such as sustained periods of low salinity, could be limiting bed expansion/proliferation. The complete absence of a seagrass seed reserve in the Little Bay sediments is noteworthy.

A Seagrass Monitoring Program for Texas Coastal Waters: Integration of Landscape Features with Plant and Water Quality Indicators (Dunton and Pulich)