Seagrasses in Xmas Bay

If you have ever had an excellent working day fishing it’s a excellent guess that one of your fish may have invested Section of its youth in a very seagrass mattress. Seagrass meadows deliver important nursery places For several important fish species. They are really pretty productive habitats which offer meals and shelter for juvenile fish species, crabs, and shrimp, Therefore the decline of such habitats produce important concern amongst numerous resource organizations.

Seagrass from the Galveston Bay

Unfortunately, with the late 1970’s, seagrass inside the Galveston Bay advanced experienced Virtually completely disappeared on account of dredge-and-fill actions, boat website traffic, subsidence, erosion, storms, and wastewater discharges. Since Christmas Bay has become the most efficient and minimum disturbed slight bays inside the Galveston Bay sophisticated , it grew to become a precedence conservation site for condition useful resource management systems. By 1988 Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) and the overall Land Business selected Xmas Bay an Formal Condition Coastal Maintain and Condition Scientific Area. Nonetheless, in 1989 an intensive plant survey estimated that only seven hundred acres of submerged aquatic vegetation nevertheless existed in Galveston Bay, with around 386 acres in Christmas Bay and the remainder along Trinity fishing rods
Seagrass in Xmas and Drum Bay also appears to get healthy. Fragmentation of seagrass beds could be regarded as an Original phase in seagrass decrease and seagrass patches are frequently issue to impacts from fetch or mechanical disturbance which may lead for their finish loss inside a bay program. Fragmentation of your blended shoalgrass and clovergrass beds was not observed within the 2005 aerial photos nor was a lack of seagrass. This suggests that seagrass however retains some relative security in Xmas Bay from your “human” aspects explained in 1998 (including the absence of dredging, waterfront improvement, and point resource and non-level supply discharges in the bays) Which juvenile fish can have a secure spot to expand For several years to come back.

TPWD executed a mapping project

In 1998 TPWD conducted a mapping task to determine the status of seagrass in Drum and yuletide Bay working with aerial photography and geographic data process (GIS) program. At the moment, seagrass in Xmas and Drum Bay covered somewhere around 424 acres and that Christmas Bay consists of four from the 5 seagrass species found in Texas. Most frequently observed are mixed shoal grass (Halodule wrightii) and clover grass (Halophila englemanni) beds, with widgeon grass (Ruppia maritima) turning out to be ample during the spring and fall and interspersed patches of turtle grass (Thalassia testudinum) together the south shore. The presence of Thalassia in Xmas Bay is critical given that the nearest recognized inhabitants is 150 miles south in Aransas Bay in the vicinity of Rockport. To check the present standing of seagrass in Christmas and Drum Bay While using the preceding study, new aerial images were taken in December 2005 and when compared Together with the 1998 photographs. Precisely the same aerial photographer from 1998 ,the identical flight system and methodology ended up utilized to eradicate bias. The photographs have been groundtruthed (i.e., seagrass signatures from the aerial photographs ended up in comparison with their actual Bodily site) and when compared With all the older maps and aerial photos.

The ninety two GPS points

Floor truthing consisted of locating the ninety two GPS details Employed in the prior study and getting 3 four-inch Main samples at Each and every site to ascertain seagrass species present. Seagrass classification at Every internet site was resolute by examining which core samples contained essentially the most species of seagrass; for example if two with the three core samples have been bare and the 3rd contained shoalgrass, that site was categorized as shoalgrass. The aerial photographs had been then when compared to GIS maps from 1998 To judge seagrass populace tendencies in Christmas Bay over the past six a long time; which include measuring improvements in acreage, patchiness, and whether a shift in distribution and species composition has transpired.
Seagrass acreage within just Xmas and Drum Bay seems to possess continued to raise a little bit, except for widgeongrass. The aerial photographs from 2005 present a complete acreage for Xmas and Drum Bay of 436.6 acres, which can be a slight boost with the 424 acres from the 1998 along with the 386 acres in 1989. Seagrass nonetheless principally consisted of combined beds of shoalgrass and clovergrass, with shoalgrass becoming essentially the most considerable.