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Anthropogenic and Environmental Impacts on Estuaries and Methods Used to Mitigate These Impacts. Oyster Habitat. Coastal Wetlands. What kinds of wetlands ?. Estuarine Tidal Wetlands Riverine Wetlands Palustrine Emergent Wetlands Palustrine Forested Wetlands. References: - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Oyster HabitatAnthropogenic and Environmental Impacts on Estuaries and Methods Used to Mitigate These ImpactsCoastal Wetlands

  • What kinds of wetlands ?Estuarine Tidal WetlandsRiverine WetlandsPalustrine Emergent WetlandsPalustrine Forested Wetlands

    References:Classification of Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats of United States Cowardin et al. USFWS 1979.

    Texas Coastal Wetlands GuidebookMoulton and Jacobhttp://texaswetlands.org/estuarine.html

  • Why are wetlands important ?Nursery Habitat for Fish, Crabs, Shrimp and Other Aquatic SpeciesWildlife Habitat for Mammals and Waterfowl and Migratory BirdsWater Quality Filtration and Biogeochemical InteractionsWater Storage Natural DetentionFlood BufferShoreline Erosion Protection

  • Economic ValueWetlands have inherent value existing capital are valuable asset ~$20,000/acre (Woodward and Wu 2001)Direct use benefits to fish and wildlife species.Direct economic benefits to humans for recreational wildlife viewing, hunting, and fishing (2 billion annually).Direct economic benefits to commercial fisheries ($400 million annually).They are a commons that we all benefit by their existence.


  • Texas Coastal Plain Was Once 25% Wetlands

  • Wetland Losses from Multiple Factors

  • Galveston Bay is located in the Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes Ecoregion.Net loss of over 14,000 acres of emergent marsh between 1950s and 2002 for West Bay, a sub-bay of the Galveston Bay ecosystem (White et al. 2004). This loss has been attributed to severe erosion, conversion to agricultural lands, and vegetation drowning due to subsurface fault activation and subsidence (White et al. 2004). Coastal Wetland Habitat LossesWhite, W.A., T.A. Tremblay, R.L. Waldinger, and T.R. Calnan. 2004. Status and Trends of Wetland and Aquatic Habitats on Texas Barrier Islands, Upper Texas Coast, Galveston and Christmas Bays. Texas Coastal Coordination Council Report pursuant to Texas General Land Office Contract 03-057-R

  • Land Classification and Habitat Types

  • 1995 NAPP Aerial PhotographFreshwater Non-tidal Wetland Loss Jacob and Lopez 2005

  • NWI 1992

  • 2002 HGAC Aerial Photograph

  • Most palustrine wetland loss in the lower Galveston Bay watershed is due urbanization



  • What was population in past ?1900 Texas Population ~ 3 Million 1900 122,000 Houston Residents85% Texas Rural Residents

  • TEXAS STATS ON POPULATION200020 MILLION34 MILLIONPARTS OF THE TEXAS COAST WILL DOUBLE IN POPULATION2000 20 Million TexansHouston in 2000 4 million18% Rural Residents on 94 % of the land.


  • Mitigation for Habitat LossesUnder CWA - Compensatory Mitigation is required for habitat losses from development in Coastal WetlandsMitigation is defined as the Restoration, Establishment, Enhancement, or Preservation of aquatic resources to offset unavoidable impacts to waters of the U.S. 2008 Mitigation Rule (33 CFR Part 332)New regulations established standards and criteria for compensatory mitigation

  • PRE Mitigation Rule : Preference for permittee-responsible mitigation (e.g., on-site wetland creation) Resulted in many, small mitigationPOST Mitigation Rule :Preference for mitigation banks Intent is to consolidate mitigation into fewer, larger areas with long-term conservation and management strategiesInteragency Review Team reviews all bank establishments, operations, use, and credits

  • Texas Mitigation Banks Under Review or Authorized for Compensatory Mitigation by USACE

  • Conservation Status of Estuarine WetlandsSignificant portion are on Texas submerged lands, FWS Refuge lands, TPWD Wildlife Management Areas, or lands held in trust by Conservation groups (TNC)Several layers of state and federal protection

  • Direct link to commercial and recreationally important fisheries speciesMost significant threats are relative sea level rise and cumulative impacts by developmentPublic funding available for restorationConservation Status of Estuarine Wetlands

  • Coastal Habitat Program Restoration Projects-Past 10 YearsDepend on state-federal-local partnerships550 acres of marsh restored, 300-400 acres of seagrass restoredOver 1,100 acres of coastal habitat protected from erosion

    Jumbile Cove Restoration Project

  • Galveston Island State Park Restorationgeo-textile tubesmarsh terrace fieldsseagrass125 acres of intertidal marsh complex 247 acres seagrass

  • 8 acres of intertidal marsh created49 acres of estuarine marsh protected8 acres of shallow water habitat25 acres of rookery habitat protected

  • Conservation Status of Riparian WetlandsConservation areas in State Parks, WMAs, FWS Refuges, River Authority lands as well as Conservation groups.Wetland areas within FEMA mapped floodplains are primarily protected by Clean Water Act

  • Conservation Status of Riparian WetlandsRecognized for their wildlife value for decades; e.g. hunting clubsMost significant threats are timber extraction, reduction of natural flooding regime by manipulating flows or by drainage improvement, and development.Private landowner incentive programs like WRP are most effective in this landscape due to large tracts and ease of restoration.

  • Conservation StatusPalustine Emergent/Forested WetlandsDistributed as a smaller feature of a larger upland landscape.Only wetland areas adjacent to navigable waters and/or within FEMA mapped floodplains are protected by CWA. Estimates range from 40% to 60% of all Texas wetlands no longer under regulatory purview. Most significant threats are land use conversion either to agriculture or from agriculture to development.

  • Regulations in Palustrine Wetlands40-50% of Texas wetlands only recognized connection to interstate commerce is migratory birds.Water quality and flood protection benefits provide no federal nexus for regulation by federal government.Includes 303d list of impaired water bodies.Includes watersheds where federal dollars are expended for flood control purposes.

  • High Rainfall, High Runoff, Ample Pollution Sources30% of Galveston Bays freshwater inflow comes from the surrounding coastal plain15% of its nitrogen input is from aerial depositionMany sanitary sewers leak into storm drains due to high shrink/swell soilsYear-round cattle grazing is ubiquitous on undeveloped lands

  • Acquisition ProgramsPalustrine WetlandsTPWD has Land, Water, and Recreation Plan that identifies land acquisition strategy Coastal Prairie is a targeted landscapeFunding always an issueState funding to local governments has been reduced for Park funding.Federal funds available however conservation landholder funds are not readily available.Non Government Organizations Critical partner for this type of conservation tool.

  • Landowner Incentive ProgramsWetland Conservation Plan provided a blueprint for landowner based conservation program.Texas Prairie Wetland Project.Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for this type of landscape conservation is limiting for landowners.

  • Texas Prairie Wetland Project Funding PartnersDucks Unlimited, Inc.Texas Parks & WildlifeU.S. Fish & Wildlife ServiceNatural Resources Conservation Service

  • Texas Prairie Wetlands ProjectHabitat Conservation Accomplishments 27,145 acres completed 321 individual wetland agreements Technical assistance provided on over 400,000 acres $4.96 million dollars spent $183/acre)

  • Aransas 7 ac.Austin 41 ac.Brazoria 2335 ac. Brooks 0 ac.Calhoun 1050 ac. Cameron 123 ac.Chambers2793 ac.Colorado 967 ac.Fort Bend 585 ac.Galveston231 ac.Harris 223 ac. Hidalgo 0 ac.Jackson 845 ac.Jefferson2965 ac.

    Kenedy 19 ac.Kleberg 18 ac.Lavaca 699 ac.Liberty1895 ac.Matagorda 2923 ac.Nueces 70 ac.Orange1331 ac.Refugio 179 ac.San Patricio 19 ac.Starr 0 ac.Victoria 2234 ac.Waller 168 ac.Wharton5345 ac.Willacy 12 ac.0 Acres1 - 100 Acres101 -500 Acres501 - 1000 Acres1000+ AcresTexas Prairie Wetlands ProjectCompleted Project Acreage / Countyas of 11/4/02

  • What Anticipated Changesin Future ?

  • Superstition is seeing patterns that arent really there and denial is not seeing patterns that really are there.Murray Gell-Mann, 1969 Nobel Prize in Physics

  • Sea level Rise Predicted for Gulf Coast Over Next 25 years

  • The Big Conflict AheadMinimal regulation of palustrine wetlandsRapidly growing populationSea level rise impacting those either regulated (estuarine) or held in public trust.For Texas to retain a functional and sustainable natural heritage, we will have to radically change the way we either regulate or provide incentives or set aside lands for conservation.

  • What is required of us ?All stakeholders will need to actively engage in conservationCooperate, collaborate, and compromiseDevelop strategies that effectively conserve resources for the future that respect individual rights and the public trust Agreement to change

  • Because of the natural resource bounty inherent in the Texas landscape we have been able to sacrifice part of that bounty for many benefits.

    However, we cannot expect to continue at the present rate without reducing that bounty disproportionately and affecting our individual choices and quality of life

  • *Introduction,NameAgency Topic summary-I will be speaking on the trends in coastal texas wetl


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