The status and long-term trends of oyster reefs in Galveston Bay, Texas




Powell, E.N.
Song, J.
Ellis, M.S.
Wilson-Ormond, E.A.

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This article discusses the response of oyster reefs to the changing circulating patterns in Galveston Bay. Channelization, dike construction, and the disappearance of major barrier reefs have resulted in new circulation patterns within the bay. This study attempts to quantify the long-term reef coverage trends. A dual frequency acoustic profiler was used to generate a detailed survey of the bay area, and this survey was then compared to a 1970 survey and earlier accounts. Attrition and accretion details are included as well as relief maps. Using a new acoustic surveying technique, the status and long-term trends of Galveston Bay oyster reefs were studied. Some parts of the Galveston Bay reef system change a great deal due to natural and man-made influences. Subsidence, channelization, and dike construction have influenced bay circulation. Because the balance between the reefs and bay circulation has been upset, reef loss and attrition has occurred. These reefs are no longer located in positions of high productivity. Optimal areas have allowed for continued growth.


p. 439-457


oyster reefs, biological production, environmental effects, channels, navigational channels, oyster fisheries, sea level changes, sea level variations