Science Based Monitoring of Restored Habitat within the Galveston Bay System
The Galveston Bay Foundation (GBF), in partnership with the University of Houston, Clear Lake (UHCL), is involving students to conduct research to monitor the functional aspects of habitat restoration sites within the Galveston Bay system. The project focuses on sites restored or created by GBF in our Pierce Marsh preserve, and is based in part on recommendations made in "Science-based Restoration Monitoring of Coastal Habitats, Volume 1: A framework for Monitoring Plans Under the Estuaries and Clean Waters Act of 2000" (Thayer, G.W., et al. NOAA Coastal Ocean Program Decision Analysis Series No. 23, Vol.1).
This project is generating data regarding the vegetation and faunal uses of created marshes in the Pierce Marsh Preserve; data collected includes plant growth and density, sediment characteristics, and benthic macroinvertebrate community structure. Information obtained under this project will help managers establish and monitor sediment and habitat quality criteria for created wetlands in the Galveston Bay system. Data will be made available to the public and resource managers through a cooperative agreement with the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), who would import the data to the National Biologic Information Infrastructure database. Data will also be incorporated into the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Restoration Center's database and accessible through their website.
Habitat restoration is a top priority for Galveston Bay and its communities; the Galveston Bay Estuary Program's (GBEP) Monitoring and Research Subcommittee has noted that little data is available regarding the functional aspects of created/restored marshes. This project will help implement aspects of the Galveston Bay Plan, and help facilitate more effective habitat restoration and increase the benefits of future restoration projects. This project is envisioned as being a pilot for a program that might be continued on a regular basis as funding sources are identified.