Lavaca Bay Ecosystem Assessment: Gathering Key Baseline Data Among Nursery Habitats Spread Across a Pollution Gradient

Principal Investigator

The Lavaca Bay System includes adjacent minor bays (Cox and Keller) and supports critical nursery habitats for important fauna within the overarching Matagorda Bay ecosystem. The overall goal of this project is to complete a comprehensive, seasonal ecological assessment of important nursery habitats in Lavaca, Cox, and Keller Bays with respect to potential nurdle effects on aquatic and avian species. This focused environmental research project involves quantifying juvenile, estuarine-dependent nekton (i.e., fish, shrimp, crabs, etc.) distributions and describing coastal bird habitat use directly within and adjacent to nurdle recovery locations in the Lavaca Bay system. Comparisons to ongoing assessments in the Colorado River Delta and Guadalupe River Delta will be made to further assess potential impacts from nurdles and guide future restoration planning along the central Texas Coast.