The influence of freshwater inflows upon the major bays and estuaries of the Texas Gulf Coast.
Texas Department of Water Resources.
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The Texas Department of Water Resources was directed by Senate Bill 137, 64th Texas Legislature, to conduct comprehensive studies of the effects of freshwater inflow upon the bays and estuaries of Texas and to estimate the inflows needed to maintain a suitable ecological environment. This report describes the findings of studies on the relationships between freshwater inflow, salinity, and biological activity in the seven largest estuaries on the Texas coast. A method is described for relating the impact of freshwater inflows to estuarine conditions by the use of three key indicators: inundation frequency of riverine deltaic marsh complexes, mean monthly salinity, and annual commercial fisheries harvests. Using this methodology, estimates are given for the monthly and seasonal freshwater inflows needed to meet three alternative estuarine objectives: ecosystem subsistence, fisheries harvest maintenance, and fisheries harvest enhancement. Alternative means of providing freshwater inflows to the bays and estuaries are discussed.