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Nearshore Hard Bottom Monitoring for Venice, Florida

CSA Ocean Sciences Inc. (CSA) conducted the Monitoring Program for the City of Venice Beach Nourishment Project on the central west coast of Florida. CSA monitored biological and physical characteristics of hard bottom for pre-construction, during construction, and post-construction periods at both borrow and fill locations. Hard bottom features that support epibiotal assemblages consisting of macroalgae, sponges, stony corals, octocorals, and other organisms exist near both the offshore borrow sites and nearshore fill sites.

These hard bottom assemblages were monitored for impacts related to sedimentation, turbidity, and other dredge-related stressors. The monitoring program included 1) Cross-shelf transects to record physical and biological characteristics of nearshore hard bottom adjacent to borrow and fill sites; 2) Sentinel organisms – organisms selected to monitor effects of turbidity and sedimentation at borrow and fill sites, 3) Pipeline Corridors – monitoring of proposed corridors for dredging pipelines prior to dredging to ensure the pipelines would not directly contact hard bottom and after dredging to document any impacts that may have occurred; and 4) Toe of Fill Margin – monitoring the landward margin of hard bottom along the project fill site to track the equilibrated toe of fill from the project. In addition, CSA was responsible for pre‑construction monitoring of shorebirds and migratory seabirds and their behavioral activity and nests.

Three years after construction was completed, biological and physical monitoring was expanded to include newly deployed artificial mitigation reefs. CSA developed artificial reef site selection criteria, located sites that met those criteria, and conducted pre‑deployment surveys of the sites prior to artificial reef deployment. CSA has prepared monitoring reports following each survey that compare predicted to actual impacts.

Project Location: Northern GOM

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