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Hardbottom Community Monitoring for Indian River County

CSA Ocean Sciences Inc. (CSA) has conducted pre-construction (2007) immediate (2008), Year 1 (2009) and Year 2 (2010) post-construction biological monitoring surveys of benthic hard bottom habitat offshore northern Indian River County, Florida, in relation to a beach nourishment project. Surveys were conducted in accordance with a biological monitoring plan approved by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). A total of 10 permanent cross-shore monitoring transects have been installed, maintained, and monitored annually in both project and reference areas.

Scientists collected video data in quantitative and qualitative formats along the entire length of each transect. Quantitative video data from two selected 20-m segments on each transect were analyzed with random point count software (CPCe) to estimate percent cover of substrate types, wormrock, macroalgae (to species), corals, sponges and other benthic fauna. 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 10 point‑intercept locations along each transect.

In addition, individual counts were made of all corals, sponges, tunicate colonies, urchins, holothuroids and other fauna within each quadrat. Maximum and mean heights of the two dominant algal species were measured as well as maximum physical relief of hard bottom within each quadrat. Sediment accumulation was measured at five random locations within each quadrat and at pre‑determined locations along each transect.

The nearshore edge of exposed hard bottom was mapped by scientists to document position relative to the shoreline in order to monitor potential cross-shore transport of beach fill, as well as document potential changes in the benthic community along the edge. Comprehensive annual monitoring reports were submitted to the client pursuant to FDEP Joint Coastal Permit application requirements. This project was conducted as a subcontract to Applied Technology and Management.

Project Location: Northern GOM

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