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Nearshore Hardbottom Monitoring for Martin County

CSA conducted a baseline pre-construction survey in 2010 an immediate post-construction survey in 2013, and is currently conducting a one year post-construction survey to characterize, monitor, and map nearshore hardbottom habitats offshore Martin County, Florida in relation to beach renourishment associated with the Martin County Shore Protection Project. Surveys were conducted in accordance with a biological monitoring plan approved by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). Twelve permanent, cross-shore monitoring transects were established from the project's equilibrium-toe-of-fill (ETOF) to the east a distance of 500 ft (152 m). CSA scientists collected video data in quantitative and qualitative formats along each transect. Percent cover of substrate, wormrock, macroalgae, corals, sponges, and other benthic fauna were determined from analysis of quantitative video data using random point count software (CPCe).

Along each transect, percent cover of substrates, wormrock, macroalgae, corals, sponges, and other benthic fauna were also visually estimated in situ by sampling 0.25-m2 quadrats at 12 permanent quadrat stations. Within each quadrat, individual counts were made of all corals, sponges, tunicate colonies, urchins, and holothuroids; maximum and mean heights of the two dominant algal species were measured; and maximum vertical relief of hardbottom was measured. Sediment accumulation was measured at five random locations within each quadrat and at each meter along the entire length of each transect.

The nearshore edge of exposed hardbottom was mapped by divers to document position relative to the shoreline and to characterize the benthic community along the edge within the survey area. Survey monitoring reports as well as comprehensive data deliverables (including Geographic Information System [GIS] mapping products) were submitted to the client pursuant to FDEP Joint Coastal Permit application requirements.

Project Location: Northern GOM

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