Analysis of the Potential Fishery Value of the 'Demonstration Marsh' on Atkinson Island in Galveston Bay, Texas

Minello, TJ
Caldwell, PA
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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Wetlands are important nursery habitats for many fishery species in the northern Gulf of Mexico (Boesch and Turner 1984, Rozas and Zimmerman 2000, Zimmerman et al. 2000), and extensive wetland loss in the region and in Galveston Bay has created an incentive to restore these wetland systems. The overall project goal of the Beneficial Uses Group is to use dredged material to create marshes that are ecologically similar to natural marshes in Galveston Bay (Rozas et al. 1995). For a variety of reasons, however, created wetlands often do not function like natural wetlands (Matthews and Minello 1994, Minello and Webb 1997, Minello 2000, Minello and Rozas 2002). An important ecological function of Galveston Bay marshes is their support of fishery populations, and the marsh surface can provide food for growth and structure that increases survival (Minello et al. 2003). This ecological function is largely determined by access to the marsh surface; and access is controlled by tidal dynamics and the amount of marsh-water edge in the system (Rozas 1995, Zimmerman et al. 2000, Minello and Rozas 2002).

24 pgs.
created wetlands, dredging, marshes, wetland restoration