Understanding Coastal Ecosystems Room 201D
Jan 25, 2023 09:35 AM - 10:35 AM(America/Chicago)
20230125T0935 20230125T1035 America/Chicago Understanding Coastal Ecosystems Room 201D 2023 Bays and Bayous Symposium mbnep@mobilebaynep.com
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Coastal Attribute Data Analysis Based on Living Shoreline Suitability Models for Selected Water Bodies and Coastal Metropolitan Areas in the Gulf of Mexico
09:35 AM - 09:50 AM (America/Chicago) 2023/01/25 15:35:00 UTC - 2023/01/25 15:50:00 UTC
Living Shorelines Suitability Model (SSM V3.0 and V5.1, developed by the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences) was successfully run for Mobile Bay, Alabama (SSM V3.0), the Perdido Bay, Ono Island Complex, Alabama, Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, Galveston Bay, Texas, and Pensacola Bay, Florida (SSM V5.1). The SSM model results have provided resource managers with suitable shoreline management recommendations and help them to make improved restoration decisions for coastal erosion protection. Shoreline attributes that were collected and used in running these SSM models also provide abundant information about different geomorphic features, extent of tidal shorelines, percent coverage of coastal structures, and nearshore habitats that can be further analyzed and compared to broaden our knowledge and understanding of shorelines within these bay areas in the Gulf of Mexico. 
This presentation will present statistical analysis results associated with these attribute data that include beach, fetch, bathymetry, riparian land use, shoreline protection structures both onshore and offshore, subaquatic vegetation, and tidal marsh.
It is found that the percent gray infrastructure ranged from 16% in the Pensacola Bay Watershed, Florida to 42% in Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, with the percent green infrastructure ranging from 0.4% in the Perdido Bay, Ono Island Complex to 11.4% in Galveston Bay, Texas. The percent high fetch was greatest in Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana (84.5%), with Perdido Bay and Ono Island Complex, Alabama and Galveston Bay containing the greatest percentage of low fetch. Correlation analysis between coastal population distribution patterns and shoreline land use changes will be presented as a part of this research.
Chris Boyd
Troy University
Xutong Niu
Troy University
Assessing the Effectiveness of Living Shorelines at Preventing Coastal Erosion and Maintaining Healthy Habitats
09:50 AM - 10:50 AM (America/Chicago) 2023/01/25 15:50:00 UTC - 2023/01/25 16:50:00 UTC
Hardened shorelines have been the leading method against shoreline erosion. Living shorelines, however, have longer sustainability and provide an ecosystem similar to a natural marsh. The living shoreline method often combines native vegetation and a wave dampener just offshore. We compared hardened, natural, and living shorelines and their success at mitigating erosion under different wave energy and fetch exposure. Comparisons of these three shoreline types was conducted at six field sites in Mississippi and Alabama. The field data was collected in winter and summer of 2020 using wave gages, water quality sondes, sediment cores, and vegetation quadrats. Google Earth satellite imagery was used to calculate shoreline erosion rates and fetch. 
The coastline and its shape were influenced by the energy exerted, with the high energy coastlines eroding quicker. Hardened shorelines were found to have little to no erosion, while natural shorelines had the greatest amount of erosion. Living shorelines lessened the rate of erosion. However, natural and living shorelines were similar in slope and sediment parameters, while hardened shorelines had steep slopes and higher sand content. Living and natural shorelines had similar vegetation diversity, while hardened shorelines differed with often very little vegetation. Living shorelines with a combination of vegetation and a wave dampener decreased the impact of erosion to create a more natural ecosystem, especially at low energy sites. This data on different exposure and wave energies will help managers and landowners to decide the best method to protect their property from erosion while maintaining a healthy ecosystem.
Patrick Biber
University Of Southern Mississippi
Gabrielle Spellmann
University Of Southern Mississippi
NOAA Firebird: Fire Effects in Gulf of Mexico Marshes on Mottled Ducks, Black and Yellow Rails
10:05 AM - 10:20 AM (America/Chicago) 2023/01/25 16:05:00 UTC - 2023/01/25 16:20:00 UTC
Although extensive work has been done in upland systems to understand the role of fire in maintaining ecosystem functions, little has been done on the maintenance of coastal wetlands, or the response of birds in high marsh wetlands. High marsh is a unique habitat type, imminently threatened by sea level rise and characterized by a community of specialized emergent vegetation that tolerates irregular tidal inundation. Land managers' decisions about prescribed fire in high marsh systems are complicated by uncertainty around the response of birds to the application of prescribed fire. Without an understanding of how prescribed fire impacts high marsh ecosystems, natural resource managers will be limited in their ability to manage and conserve the biodiversity of the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Region. Black rail, yellow rail, and mottled duck are birds of conservation concern, and uncertainty currently limits the application of prescribed fire for the benefit for all three species. We will present our work to date in monitoring the response of our three focal species to prescribed fire management of their habitats, and what we've learned along the way in terms of sampling design for three birds that can be challenging to study.
Mark Woodrey
Mississippi State Universtiy
Reproductive Success of Shorebirds in Alabama
10:20 AM - 10:35 AM (America/Chicago) 2023/01/25 16:20:00 UTC - 2023/01/25 16:35:00 UTC
Nest and fledging success are important metrics to study to get a holistic understanding of the population dynamics of birds and to identify stages that might be limiting to population stability and growth. Prior to 2018, there was limited information available on the breeding population sizes and reproductive success of shorebirds in Alabama. There were censuses conducted throughout the state, with the most recent in 2015; however, these data did not provide information on the numbers of nests or fledglings. We surveyed for and monitored nesting Snowy Plovers, American Oystercatchers, Least Terns, and Black Skimmers along mainland and barrier island beaches and nearshore islands beginning in 2018. Most species had low productivity across years, with causes of nest failure and chick loss including weather (i.e., overwash from storm-driven high tides, high winds), and depredation by avian and mammalian predators. These were the first consistent, coastwide shorebird monitoring efforts in the state and provided needed insight into the population sizes and reproductive success of these species. These data can be used as a baseline for future monitoring and to identify targeted management strategies to increase reproductive success of shorebirds.
Olivia Morpeth
Alabama Audubon
Lianne Koczur
Alabama Audubon
Fallan Batchelor
City Of Orange Beach
Troy University
University of Southern Mississippi
Mississippi State Universtiy
Alabama Audubon
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