Are Benefits of Freshwater Inflow Confounded with Degradation by Non-point Source Pollution in Lavaca and Matagorda Bays?

Principal Investigator

Recent surveys in Lavaca and Matagorda Bays along the Texas coast found poor sediment quality near creek, stream, and river mouths, suggesting most sediment contamination is due to non-point source pollution. Other research demonstrates freshwater inflow maintains estuary health and productivity. So, are freshwater inflows good or bad?

Targeted measurements of sediment chemistry, toxicity, and benthic diversity in 18 stations near creek and river mouths will be used to answer this question. The current proposal complements other Matagorda Bay Mitigation Trust projects, so together, these studies will distinguish potential roles of inflow and pollution as ecological drivers and identify management strategies for restoring bay health.