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Melanie Parker and Steve Geiger Associate Research Scientist Fish and Wildlife Research Institute 100 Eighth Avenue SE St. Petersburg, FL 33701

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Presentation on theme: "Melanie Parker and Steve Geiger Associate Research Scientist Fish and Wildlife Research Institute 100 Eighth Avenue SE St. Petersburg, FL 33701"— Presentation transcript:

1 Melanie Parker and Steve Geiger Associate Research Scientist Fish and Wildlife Research Institute 100 Eighth Avenue SE St. Petersburg, FL

2 Background information Water Flow in SE Florida CERP Oyster Monitoring Methods Preliminary results and trends Summary

3 Historically, drainage patterns were characterized by slow, surface flows through rivers, creeks, sloughs and marshes Natural system absorbed floodwater, promoted ground water recharge, assimilated nutrients and removed suspended materials As south Florida developed, the resulting canal network drastically altered the quality, quantity, timing and distribution of freshwater entering the estuaries SFWMD

4 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District Historic Flow Current FlowRestored Flow

5 Implemented as means of reinitiating natural freshwater flow to both coasts of south FL Realized through habitat enhancement and water storage/treatment projects Monitoring component of CERP addresses impacts of changed freshwater flow on flora / fauna Eastern oyster chosen as a target species for CERP

6 Current water management practices involve releases of large volumes of freshwater over short periods of time Flood releases and urban runoff contain many contaminants from urban and agricultural development Sudden drops in salinity lead to decreased growth, reproduction, recruitment and even death of oysters in the estuary Drastic changes in salinity can increase oyster disease prevalence and intensity Freshwater inflows are often too great in the wet season and too little in the dry season

7 Reduce the impacts of freshwater releases Restore more natural freshwater inflows into estuaries More optimal salinities Reduction in nutrient loads Improved water clarity RESULT - promote reestablishment of healthy oyster reefs Added benefit to other organisms that use oyster reef habitat

8 Dominant species in Florida estuaries Salinity and other water quality conditions that are suitable for oysters are also ideal for many other organisms Keystone species – habitat, filtration, shoreline and sediment stabilization Sedentary nature of oysters allows for generation of cause-and-effect relationships between environmental conditions and oyster health

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10 North Fork South Fork Middle Estuary 3 monitoring stations in each site

11 Abundance and Distribution Juvenile Recruitment Reproductive Development Perkinsus marinus Disease Prevalence Disease Intensity Water Quality

12 CERP is a long term project Potential 50 years of oyster monitoring We are in Year 6 – began in 2005 Results are preliminary No major changes in water management practices General trends / Storm events

13 7-9 mos below 5ppt 2-5 mos below 5ppt 2-3 mos below 5ppt

14 2005 – Wettest Year of study Most active storm season to date Hurricane Wilma in October 2006 – Driest Year of study 2007 – Tropical Storm Barry in June 2008 – Tropical Storm Fay in August

15 Rainfall Canal 23 – S97 Water Releases Canal 24 – S49 Canal 23 – S48 Canal 44 – S80

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17 99% Dead Highest Live Densities: 2007, Spring 2008, and 2010

18 Largest Shell Heights: Spring 2005 and Spring 2008

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23 St. Lucie estuary strongly impacted by water management practices 2005 and 2008 die off Timing and extent of freshwater releases impacts recovery time of oysters in St. Lucie 2005 – 6 months of high FW flow, recovery in Fall – 2 months of high FW flow, spat set in November Die-offs can also destroy recruitment substrate as shells become unconsolidated and buried by sediment 2010 – No oyster die-off but low recruitment rates Poor egg quality? Poor larval survival and settlement?

24 What can we do to better summarize the biological data for water management? Can we determine the relationship between flow releases and salinity patterns in the estuary? How do releases from the three canals impact each site? Can we determine ideal water release levels (cfs) to maintain suitable conditions in the estuary? Maximum rate / duration? Promote adult and larval survival Data Exploration Can we quantify differences between sites/years with salinity? Biological Parameter vs. Salinity regressions

25 Acknowledgements FWC Molluscan Fisheries crew Sarah Stephenson, Janessa Cobb, Anthony Vasilas, Michael Drexler, Lindsey O’Hearn, Bethany Pierce Former Molluscan Fisheries crew members Bill Arnold, Brett Pittinger, Carla Beals, Brandy Brown, Jennifer Davenport, Sara Bergeron Histology LabCenter for Biostatistics and Modeling Yvonne Waters, Noretta Perry Erin Leone South Florida Water Management District Patti Gorman, Patty Goodman, Darlene Marley FGCU– Aswani Volety HBOI – John Scarpa


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