Characterization of benthic assemblages of Galveston Bay: 1990- 1992
Ray, Gary L., Douglas G. Clarke, and Robert J. Bass
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The few existing studies that document benthic community structure in open-bay habitats of Galveston Bay, Texas, are limited in spatial and temporal scope such that available information is inadequate to provide a baseline for impact assessments. In order to address concerns for environmental impacts of alternative dredged material disposal practices in the bay, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is presently conducting a four-year study (1990- 1993) to characterize benthic communities in lower and upper portions of the estuary. Uncontaminated sediments from maintenance dredging of the Houston Ship Channel are currently placed in disposal areas approximately 1,500 ft wide and parallel to the ship channel at a distance of 1,000 ft from the channel centerline. This investigation is comparing sediments and benthic assemblages in channel-edge, maintenance dredged material disposal areas, and undisturbed open-bay bottom habitats. A companion study, also described in these proceedings, separately addresses the consequences of in-bay disposal of new work dredged material.