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Author Topic:   MINWR Habitat Conditions
hitch
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posted 09-07-2012 09:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hitch     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It’s easy to conflate the various issues regarding coastal estuaries. Tidal marshes are marshes that have a connection to the ocean or estuary via tide. There are different types of marshes mostly based on how direct the connection is to tide, and classified by the various salinity levels. Tidal marshes that are affected by daily tide have salinity levels that are much more like that found in the estuary or in the ocean they are connected to.

Then you have (or had) the ponds that Pat writes about which you can see on the old military photos. These ponds were most typical in MINWR before the impoundments were created. Many of these ponds remained brackish because they were so isolated from the tide. Some of these ponds would stay almost entirely fresh because they were spring fed. Springs were common when the aquifer along the coast was bursting with pressure, un-tapped by man. You can read the old post-civil war hunting books about these ponds and springs along the coasts of Florida. The rich yanks that came here to hunt and fish built their hunting lodges in Merritt Island and up and down the coast near these springs so they didn’t have to paddle or sail that far to access these areas. These areas were where they found the ducks and “bay birds” to hunt. They wrote about the water because, like food, they had to find it while they were here. Settlers built their farms along the coastline and never lacked fresh water. They created orange groves, gardens, and banana plantations with the fresh water they found so abundant along the coast.

Fresh water was why the ducks and other migratory birds were so attracted to the area in the past. Fresh and brackish water provided habitat for the birds, providing their food web, and provided the fresh water for them to drink. These ponds would only fill with saltwater during large storm events. This was natural.

Then there were the rivers, streams and creeks , many spring fed, where fresh water would dump into estuaries creating other zones of habitat that were unique and which benefited the native food web as well. Many of these rivers and streams flow at a much lower rate than they use to, so as the fresh water supply subsides, you get less fresh water to these zones, and the habitat changes, and the food web changes. Oyster beds have disappeared. Sea grass is destroyed by the nutrient pollution found in runoff and delivered to the estuary via these streams, rivers, and drainage canals that dump into the estuaries.

Nutrient pollution and the lack of fresh water supply (mostly because of the lack of springs and drought) are thought to be why migratory waterfowl and shorebird usage numbers have dropped so much in the refuge.

The fresh and brackish water ponds that Pat talks about are gone now for the most part due to the changes in elevations and the disruptions caused by the building of the mosquito impoundments. Some of the connected salt marshes were lost as well.

MINWR was created to enhance the area for migratory waterfowl. This is still a priority for the refuge.

The impoundments are still mostly managed to provide wintering habitat for waterfowl. The impoundments have been prioritized for this purpose, because they can be used to mimic the original conditions found in the original brackish and freshwater ponds that were once found along the coast in MINWR. By opening and closing the structures at key times, the salinity levels can be controlled to create and provide good habitat for the migratory birds. That’s why it is important work for waterfowlers to help with management of these impoundments and it’s equally important not to tamper with the structures around these impoundments.

NO-ONE does more to help out the staff of MINWR with these efforts than UW-F. Pat is our lead for all of these efforts. Pat organizes all of the impoundment work days for UW-F and also organizes the clean-up days on the refuge as well. Since we have made many friends with the USFWS staff at MINWR and we make friends with other users on the refuge, we now have an annual youth hunt day on the refuge for the kids.

Hitch

[This message has been edited by hitch (edited 09-08-2012).]

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fowlplay
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posted 09-08-2012 08:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fowlplay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
http://www.sjrwmd.com/coastalrestoration/ditchingFAQs.html
http://www.estuaries.org/pdf/2010conference/monday15/spinnaker/session2/donnelly.pdf

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mwk
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posted 09-08-2012 09:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mwk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some pics from thursday

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fowlplay
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posted 09-08-2012 11:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fowlplay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by duckmanjr:
It is obvious who has a tight grasp on the situation at MINWR....

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hitch
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posted 09-08-2012 12:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hitch     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fish kills like what you see in these photos, being late summer, are most likely due to low dissolved oxygen levels in the water. This happens when water is warm and summer storms can exacerbate the problem by quickly increasing nutrient levels in the water column from stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff high in N and P (from lawn fertilizer, septic tank leaching ) stimulates algal blooms. When these blooms occur, dissolved oxygen in the water column can drop quickly causing the fish kills.

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fowlplay
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posted 09-08-2012 02:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fowlplay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-08-20/news/os-indian-river-lagoon-algae-attack-20120819_1_sea-grass-brown-tide-algae

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blueyed-goof
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posted 09-08-2012 03:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for blueyed-goof     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Excellent information except for one very inaccurate fact as regards your "Refuges have been mostly paid for with duck stamps revenue and this is still true to a great degree".

Duck Stamp money has not "mostly paid" for the Refuge system as we know it today. According to the NWRS webpage only about 3% of all the Refuge acerage has been purchased by duck stamp money. The vast majority has been "withdrawn" from public domain.

Information below is from the NWRS website.


"The sale of Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps (Duck Stamps) have brought in about $477 million since 1934. Approximately 10 percent of the Duck Stamp revenues come from non-hunters (stamp collectors, art dealers, hobbyists). Another $197 million has been added to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund as an "advance loan" from the Treasury. Finally, about $153 million has been added to the MBCF from import duties on firearms and ammunition and from refuge entrance fees.

Collectively, these MBCF funds have purchased about 2.7 million acres (about 3 percent of Refuge System lands). An additional 1.4 million acres (about 1.5 percent of Refuge System lands) have been purchased using about $1 billion from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Most refuge lands (almost 90 percent) have been withdrawn from the public domain".


Dani

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hitch
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posted 09-08-2012 09:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hitch     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The blooms in the Indian River Lagoon are often spawned by the nutrients in the lagoon which come from various sources that runoff with storm water into the lagoon. Isotope testing of these nutrients shows nutrient sources include agricultural runoff, lawn fertilizer runoff, and septic tank leaching.

Ag runoff has been addressed to a great extent by the adoption of best management practices by farmers and ranchers. More still needs to be done and the spreading of septage on ranchland is slated to end in 2016. Yes, they still dump septage on land.

UW-F was largely responsible for convincing the lawn fertilizer companies selling product in Florida to reduce or eliminate phosphate in lawn fertilizer. Scott's is the last holdout with still a few products remaining that have some phosphates, but they have stated that by the end of 2012, their products will be phosphate free. We plan will hold them to that.

Old septic tanks along the lagoon are the largest problem. There are thousands of old tanks that line the lagoon, many which have not been pumped for years, even decades. These tanks leach nutrients into the groundwater. Waste water is also discharged into deep wells. When this groundwater upwells into the lagoon, it carries these nutrients with it.

Until we have better Ag BMPs, better regulations regarding the use of lawn fertilizer, especially in the summer months, and rules regarding the pumping and inspection of septic tanks, the lagoon water quality will continue to deteriorate, sea grass will suffer and on and on. That’s the bottom line.

Hitch

[This message has been edited by hitch (edited 09-15-2012).]

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mwk
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posted 09-09-2012 08:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mwk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would like to see some research data on the plan to hold freshwater in the impoundments for 3 years. Plenty has been posted on why they should be opened, how about one supporting the position of keeping them closed.

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fowlplay
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posted 09-09-2012 08:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fowlplay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mangrove Forests and Salt Marshes
Two important habitats adjacent to the open waters of the Indian
River lagoon are mangrove forests and salt marshes. The sediments
supporting these habitats are often covered by water at high tide but
are exposed at low tide. Mangrove forests and salt marshes are home
to a large number of plants and animals, several of which could not
survive elsewhere. For example, the salt marshes of Mosquito Lagoon
are the only habitat of the threatened Atlantic salt marsh snake. The
salt marshes of Merritt Island were once the prime habitat for the
dusky seaside sparrow, prior to their impoundment for mosquito
control. Losses of this prime habitat contributed to the extinction of
this species.
Large numbers of wading birds forage for small fish and insects in
these wetlands. The mangrove forests also provide roosting and
nesting areas for many of these birds, and 80 percent or more of the
recreational and sport fish species spend at least part of their lives in
tidal wetlands.
Mangrove forests and salt marshes also play an important role in the
protection of water quality. The tidal wetlands along the shore serve
as a filter, removing sediments, nutrients and other pollutants from
runoff before it reaches the open waters of the Lagoon.

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duckbone
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posted 09-09-2012 08:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for duckbone     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Actually Dani the MINWR waws not purchased with duck stamp money at all. It was purchased by the govt for the purpose of the Kennedy Space Center. A few years later visionaries like Cruikshank got it turned into a refuge for the migratory birds. Yearly funding for them though does come duck stamp money and taxes of our sportsman acts.

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blueyed-goof
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posted 09-09-2012 09:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for blueyed-goof     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Pat,

You're talking about a specific NWR. I was talking about NWRs in general in response to Johns comment about how duck stamps purchased the NWRs.

Dani

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fowlplay
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posted 09-09-2012 10:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fowlplay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some Effects of Impounding
Since the seventies, research has shown that impounding can have severe environmental impacts on the marshes and the adjoining estuary. Of particular concern are degradation of water quality, isolation of habitat needed by sport and commercially important fishery species during critical times in their life cycles, elimination of productive marsh vegetation, possible adverse impacts on estuarine seagrasses, and interruption of the free flow of nutrients and organisms between wetlands and the lagoon.Within some impoundments, wetland vegetation was virtually eliminated because the impoundments were flooded to much higher levels than needed in order to compensate for evaporation and seepage.

Overflooding eliminated the herbaceous halophyte (salt tolerant) cover (such as Batis maritima, Salicornia virginica and Salicornia bigelovii) from some of these marshes (Rey et al. 1990). Likewise, black mangroves were eliminated from some because their short pneumatophores (above-ground roots) can't withstand prolonged flooding.


These effects resulted in total elimination of vegetation from some impoundments and replacement of the natural high marsh vegetation of the area (mixed black mangrove-herbaceous halophytes) with monospecific stands of red mangroves at others (Rey et al. 1990a).

Impounding also reduced the abundance and diversity of fishes using these areas. (Harrington and Harrington 1961, Gilmore et al. 1982, Rey et al. 1990). Most of the missing species were "transient species" (Snelson 1976). These are species that use the marshes and mangrove forests during only part of their life cycle. Many of the species adversely impacted by impounding, such as tarpon (Megalops atlanticus), snook (Centropomus undecimalis), ladyfish (Elops saurus), mullet (Mugil cephalus), and others are extremely important for the commercial and recreational fishery industries of the area. The aquatic invertebrate fauna of some of these wetlands were also heavily impacted by impounding; abundance and diversity patterns were changed, and in some cases the communities became more typical of inland freshwater areas than of coastal salt or brackish areas (Rey et al. 1991a, Brockmeyer et al. 1997).


Water quality and soil chemistry in many impounded wetlands degraded significantly. In some impoundments, dissolved oxygen decreased, whereas nutrient and sulfide concentrations increased. In some impoundments that were flooded by artesian wells or upland drainage, conditions became more characteristic of freshwater systems, whereas very high salinities developed in many impoundments that were flooded by pumping in Indian River Lagoon waters during the summer but then left closed without further management (Figure 4). Natural surface and pore water quality patterns in these habitats are quite complex, and determining specific impacts is equally complicated. More detailed discussion of water and soil chemistry in impounded wetlands can be found in Brockmeyer et al. (1997); Rey and Kain 1993; Rey et al. (1986, 1989, 1990b, 1991b, 1992); and Carlson et al. (1983).

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hitch
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posted 09-10-2012 08:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for hitch     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Like I said in my original post...It's easy to conflate the issues and the need for fresh and brackish ponds along the coast vs. areas connected to tide. The answer is in some cases, impoundments should be re-connected to tide if feasible and if it makes sense, but in other cases they should not if they are being managed for waterfowl. Both of these cases apply within MINWR. It’s not a case of only one or the other. If you’re managing an area for fisheries, then re-connecting is probably the right thing to do, but if you’re managing for waterfowl and shorebirds, then you need shallow brackish or freshwater ponds. Again, much of MINWR was a landscape with fresh and brackish ponds where food for ducks would grow because of lower salinity and because of shallow conditions desirable to dabbling ducks and shorebirds. If you are managing parts of MINWR for Waterfowl, and for shorebirds, (which is the case) then you need brackish ponds where you can control salinity and regulate water levels to propagate the food web for Waterfowl, (i.e. widgeongrass, musk grass, spikerush, and macroinvertebrates). MINWR has some impoundments that have been re-connected, and there are probably several more that will be re-connected. But many will remain shallow impounds actively and adaptively managed for waterfowl and shorebirds.

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fowlplay
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posted 09-10-2012 09:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fowlplay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF
The objective of this initiative is to implement 2 "shovel-ready" components of our comprehensive coastal wetland program........ "The second component is the full restoration of impounded coastal wetlands at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge by the scraping down of at least 12 miles of impoundment dike. Vegetation will be mechanically removed from the dike surface and buried in the adjacent borrow ditch. The dike will be scraped down with the material being placed into the borrow ditch. The restored area will be graded to adjacent existing wetland elevation and as flat as possible to avoid mosquito breeding and the potential for erosion. This initiative will restore over 105 acres of spoil areas and borrow ditch to critically-important coastal wetland and enhance the function of nearly 900 additional acres of wetland by removing hydrologic restrictions (dikes and spoil). This will provide benefits to a variety of commercially- and recreationally-important fisheries species, habitat for other wetland wildlife, and eliminate invasive exotic plant species from the restored area.

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N. Cook
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posted 09-10-2012 09:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for N. Cook     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
All very interesting stuff...but MINWR was established with the primary purpose of enhancing the attraction for migratory waterfowl.....Manipulation of the habitat is part of that mission. The area has not been "natural" for many decades and I see no real possibility of it ever being "natural" again. The staff seems to balance the various opportunities for a diverse habitat by "restoration" projects to at least mimic the mix of salt water and fresh water "ponds" that historically existed. The loss of most of the natural freshwater springs creates a hurdle to maintain the level of fresh water habitat that once existed...and that goal requires some of the required manipulation, even maintaining impoundments.

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fowlplay
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posted 09-10-2012 09:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fowlplay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
" ... is the full restoration of impounded coastal wetlands at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge..."

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hitch
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posted 09-10-2012 10:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for hitch     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by fowlplay:
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF
The objective of this initiative is to implement 2 "shovel-ready" components of our comprehensive coastal wetland program........ "The second component is the full restoration of impounded coastal wetlands at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge by the scraping down of at least 12 miles of impoundment dike. Vegetation will be mechanically removed from the dike surface and buried in the adjacent borrow ditch. The dike will be scraped down with the material being placed into the borrow ditch. The restored area will be graded to adjacent existing wetland elevation and as flat as possible to avoid mosquito breeding and the potential for erosion. This initiative will restore over 105 acres of spoil areas and borrow ditch to critically-important coastal wetland and enhance the function of nearly 900 additional acres of wetland by removing hydrologic restrictions (dikes and spoil). This will provide benefits to a variety of commercially- and recreationally-important fisheries species, habitat for other wetland wildlife, and eliminate invasive exotic plant species from the restored area.

Project Status: Completed

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duckbone
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posted 09-10-2012 01:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for duckbone     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And are we lacking in any of the fish species or are they at a high level? Being that they are all at a very high level I see the argument that they need impounds for fish as false. Just because someone wrote that doesn't make it true. Our redfish don't leave they breed in the lagoon on the grass flats with everything else. There is plenty of mangrove shore line for protection from predators. I see no effects of loss of any fish or mangroves or salt tolerant plants on the refuge. In fact if you do not keep impounds the mangroves completely grow over the restored area as in the last area restored. Now it is useless for pretty much anything it is a salty mud, mangrove choked mosquito breeder. Grows alot of fiddler crabs though if they are good for anything.

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fowlplay
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posted 09-10-2012 03:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fowlplay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The brown tide fallout, alone, could reach several hundred million in lost fishing and tourism dollars, if the seagrass that supports regional fisheries takes years to recover. Even scientists are spooked by the sudden shift in the lagoon from a seagrass-dominant environment to a place where microscopic algae now reign supreme.

“I haven’t seen anything like this. This is totally unprecedented, and it’s just happened overnight,” said Grant Gilmore, a fish ecologist from Vero Beach who’s been studying the Indian River Lagoon for 40 years. “What you’ll see a few years down the road is a major drop in the fishery, and you’ll look at 2011 and 2012 and you’ll say, ‘that did it.’ ”

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duckmanjr
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posted 09-10-2012 08:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for duckmanjr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You are posting about the "brown tide"...but if you follow what Dr.Gilmore is talking about...it has nothing to do with reconnecting the impoundments...it is about the true issue...mans pollution of the lagoon and change in the hydrologics which has allowed this shift.

You guys up there have it good...you should look at what has happened to the seagrass beds from Melbourne all the way to the south Indian river county line...GONE..in just two years.
And for what it's worth..the "official" cause is yet to be determined but basicly..they "think" the drought conditions allowed a "super bloom"...which caused turbidity to the point of no light penitration...hence the die off.

I say it is more complicated..but I'm no scientist.

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binellishtr
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posted 09-10-2012 08:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for binellishtr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
sure hope they manage our deer better then anyone has managed MINWR,or Lox..sure is sad to see such great places going to the toilet bowl.

BTW, did we have more or less management back in the early 80"s when the place was smokin hot?

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fowlplay
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posted 09-10-2012 09:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fowlplay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by duckmanjr:
it is about the true issue...mans pollution of the lagoon and change in the hydrologics which has allowed this shift.


Mangrove forests and salt marshes also play an important role in the
protection of water quality. The tidal wetlands along the shore serve
as a filter, removing sediments, nutrients and other pollutants from
runoff before it reaches the open waters of the Lagoon

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hitch
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posted 09-10-2012 11:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hitch     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Storage of nutrients in mangroves is no more a solution to nutrient pollution in an estuary than willows are in a freshwater system. At some point the mangroves become invasive and become saturated with nutrients...then the problem in the water column continues to confound. Eventually the root causes of the nutrient pollution problem have to be addressed.

Hitch

[This message has been edited by hitch (edited 09-10-2012).]

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fowlplay
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posted 09-11-2012 07:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fowlplay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Salt marshes are composed of a variety of plants: rushes, sedges, and grasses. Florida's dominant salt marsh species include: black needle rush (Juncus roemerianus), the grayish rush occurring along higher marsh areas; saltmeadow cord grass (Spartina patens), growing in areas that are periodically inundated; smooth cord grass (Spartina alterniflora), found in the lowest areas that are most frequently inundated.

Salt marshes have a tremendous amount of surface area on the stems of the vegetation within the tidal zone. Like most submerged surfaces, these are coated with "aufwuchs", or a fouling community comprised of microalgae, bacteria, protozoa and very small metazoans. The aufwuchs accentuate the filtration effect by trapping particles of the water as is moves between the marsh vegetation. In addition, there are filter feeding organisms (mussels, barnacles, oysters, bryozoans, etc.) that also act to remove particles from the water flooding over the marsh surface.

Salt marshes contain tidal creeks, pools and “islands” of high ground, and serve as highly efficient pollution filters.

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duckbone
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posted 09-11-2012 01:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for duckbone     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by binellishtr:
sure hope they manage our deer better then anyone has managed MINWR,or Lox..sure is sad to see such great places going to the toilet bowl.

BTW, did we have more or less management back in the early 80"s when the place was smokin hot?


No need to bad mouth. In the early 90's the refuge tried a passive management style of setting the culvert boards at a determind low level to keep the impounds at a puddle duck wading bird habitat level. This coincided with the reconnection mandate by those who thought it was a good idea to reconnect when it was not needed. That was a mistake. What happened was the lagoon would come up twice a year and flood over the boards filling the impounds with salt water, couple that with a severe drought and over time and repeating the evaporating water left a hyper saline condition that killed everything. Hypersaline to the point of 80ppt or worse which is 3 times that of seawater. Killing even the most salt tolerant marsh plants. This degradation eventually moved the waterfowl to greener pastures. The mismanagement was not recognizing it sooner and doing something about it. The duck hunters certainly did and that is the #1 reason why UW-F was created. After management and staff changes the new staff worked with us to recognize the problem and solutions to their credit. Last year the panick button was finally hit before ducks stopped ever coming back like Chaz. The effort is to use an adopted 3 year management to reduce the hypersaline conditions and then go in a 3 year rotational active management style of draining to renew the marsh lost. UW was instrumental in this program and I thank the refuge for reaching out and listening to options. Or we could have just done studies and lost it all together. The efforts are working and improvement was seen almost immediately. Before the 90's and the recconection mandate when the refuge was at it's heyday for fish and fowl there were no culverts in the dikes. Rainwater filled the impounds and it naturally evapped in droughts and filled in wet years mimicking a more natural event. The dikes have been in place since the late 50's early 60's. Habitat and species were just fine for 30yrs if not a crown jewel on the east coast of the US before Brokenmeyer and his like decided it should be different and basically ruined what we had. You cannot put toothpaste back in the tube. Once we filled all the fresh water marshes in and capped the springs then the diking of the impounds replaced that habitat mimicking nature. Reconnect to salt and you destroy everything because it was not all a salt marsh in the first place but predominately fresh water marshes and I challenge anyone to prove that different. Wanting to turn it all into salt estuary marsh is different then nature built it. Most of those I encounter that want a salt marsh system don't or will not recognize that fact. They instead try to point out how many fish use the impounds for a nursery which is not the whole truth. The fish have adapted to the reconnection and populated in the impounds that is untill a drought comes along and kills them all inside them. Which is what happened. Leave the fish in the lagoon where they are supposed to be and leave the imounds for waterfowl and wading birds like they are supposed to be. Stop trying to create more redfish habitat. Stop dumping nutrients in the lagoon and it will be just fine. Fix whats ruining the lagoon not try to replace that habitat with reconnected impounds.

[This message has been edited by duckbone (edited 09-11-2012).]

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navigator
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posted 09-11-2012 02:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for navigator     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by duckbone:
No need to bad mouth. In the early 90's the refuge tried a passive management style of setting the culvert boards at a determind low level to keep the impounds at a puddle duck wading bird habitat level. This coincided with the reconnection mandate by those who thought it was a good idea to reconnect when it was not needed. That was a mistake. What happened was the lagoon would come up twice a year and flood over the boards filling the impounds with salt water, couple that with a severe drought and over time and repeating the evaporating water left a hyper saline condition that killed everything. Hypersaline to the point of 80ppt or worse which is 3 times that of seawater. Killing even the most salt tolerant marsh plants. This degradation eventually moved the waterfowl to greener pastures. The mismanagement was not recognizing it sooner and doing something about it. The duck hunters certainly did and that is the #1 reason why UW-F was created. After management and staff changes the new staff worked with us to recognize the problem and solutions to their credit. Last year the panick button was finally hit before ducks stopped ever coming back like Chaz. The effort is to use an adopted 3 year management to reduce the hypersaline conditions and then go in a 3 year rotational active management style of draining to renew the marsh lost. UW was instrumental in this program and I thank the refuge for reaching out and listening to options. Or we could have just done studies and lost it all together. The efforts are working and improvement was seen almost immediately. Before the 90's and the recconection mandate when the refuge was at it's heyday for fish and fowl there were no culverts in the dikes. Rainwater filled the impounds and it naturally evapped in droughts and filled in wet years mimicking a more natural event. The dikes have been in place since the late 50's early 60's. Habitat and species were just fine for 30yrs if not a crown jewel on the east coast of the US before Brokenmeyer and his like decided it should be different and basically ruined what we had. You cannot put toothpaste back in the tube. Once we filled all the fresh water marshes in and capped the springs then the diking of the impounds replaced that habitat mimicking nature. Reconnect to salt and you destroy everything because it was not all a salt marsh in the first place but predominately fresh water marshes and I challenge anyone to prove that different. Wanting to turn it all into salt estuary marsh is different then nature built it. Most of those I encounter that want a salt marsh system don't or will not recognize that fact. They instead try to point out how many fish use the impounds for a nursery which is not the whole truth. The fish have adapted to the reconnection and populated in the impounds that is untill a drought comes along and kills them all inside them. Which is what happened. Leave the fish in the lagoon where they are supposed to be and leave the imounds for waterfowl and wading birds like they are supposed to be. Stop trying to create more redfish habitat. Stop dumping nutrients in the lagoon and it will be just fine. Fix whats ruining the lagoon not try to replace that habitat with reconnected impounds.

[This message has been edited by duckbone (edited 09-11-2012).]


Nicely done DB. That was an eloquent byatch slapping.

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fowlplay
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posted 09-11-2012 03:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fowlplay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by duckbone:
. This coincided with the reconnection mandate by those who thought it was a good idea to reconnect when it was not needed.

reconnect (re|con¦nect) Pronunciation: /riːkəˈnɛkt/
Definition of reconnect
verb
[with object]CONNECT BACK TOGETHER:


quote:
Originally posted by duckbone:
That was a mistake. What happened was the lagoon would come up twice a year and flood over the boards filling the impounds with salt water, .

"A mosquito control impoundment is a salt marsh or mangrove forest with an earthen dike around the perimeter that allows the area to be artificially flooded during the mosquito breeding season (approximately May to October). " Jorge R. Rey and C. Roxanne Connelly


quote:
Originally posted by duckbone:
Killing even the most salt tolerant marsh plants. .

Salt tolerant plants in a freshwater marsh?

quote:
Originally posted by duckbone:
Once we filled all the fresh water marshes in and capped the springs then the diking of the impounds replaced that habitat mimicking nature.

quote:
Originally posted by duckbone:
The dikes have been in place since the late 50's early 60's.


See Mosqutio Control Impoundment definition above.

quote:
Originally posted by duckbone:
Habitat and species were just fine for 30yrs if not a crown jewel on the east coast of the US...

Fot those of you just coming in....

" Since the seventies, research has shown that impounding can have severe environmental impacts on the marshes and the adjoining estuary. Of particular concern are degradation of water quality, isolation of habitat needed by sport and commercially important fishery species during critical times in their life cycles, elimination of productive marsh vegetation, possible adverse impacts on estuarine seagrasses, and interruption of the free flow of nutrients and organisms between wetlands and the lagoon. "

quote:
Originally posted by duckbone:
" ...before Brokenmeyer and his like decided it should be different and basically ruined what we what we had.

"WE?" - Birders? No. Fishermen? No. Ahhh, Duckhunters.

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N. Cook
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posted 09-11-2012 03:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for N. Cook     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Note again....MINWR was established with the Mission to enhance the habitat for migrating waterfowl...ie ducks. Manipulation of habitat for that purpose was and is expected...especially the use of fresh water to mimic the springs that once existed and attracted large numbers of waterfowl....

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mwk
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posted 09-11-2012 03:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mwk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So what is plan B when plan A fails.

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fowlplay
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posted 09-11-2012 03:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fowlplay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[QUOTE]Originally posted by duckbone:[B] You cannot put toothpaste back in the tube. (/B)(/QUOTE)

Too easy.

(QUOTE)Originally posted by duckbone B) Reconnect to salt and you destroy everything because it was not all a salt marsh in the first place but predominately fresh water marshes and I challenge anyone to prove that different.(/B)(QUOTE)

Impoundments created for control of SALT MARSH MOSQUITOES.

( QUOTE )(B)Wanting to turn it all into salt estuary marsh is different then nature built it.(/B)(QUOTE)

Salt Marsh Mosquitoes live in Salt Marshes

( Quote )(B) They instead try to point out how many fish use the impounds for a nursery which is not the whole truth. The fish have adapted to the reconnection and populated in the impounds that is untill a drought comes along and kills them all inside them.(/B) (QUOTE)

Impounding also reduced the abundance and diversity of fishes using these areas. (Harrington and Harrington 1961, Gilmore et al. 1982, Rey et al. 1990). Most of the missing species were "transient species" (Snelson 1976). These are species that use the marshes and mangrove forests during only part of their life cycle. Many of the species adversely impacted by impounding, such as tarpon (Megalops atlanticus), snook (Centropomus undecimalis), ladyfish (Elops saurus), mullet (Mugil cephalus), and others are extremely important for the commercial and recreational fishery industries of the area. The aquatic invertebrate fauna of some of these wetlands were also heavily impacted by impounding; abundance and diversity patterns were changed, and in some cases the communities became more typical of inland freshwater areas than of coastal salt or brackish areas (Rey et al. 1991a, Brockmeyer et al. 1997).


( Quote )(B) Leave the fish in the lagoon where they are supposed to be and leave the imounds for waterfowl and wading birds like they are supposed to be.(/B)(QUOTE)

Wow.


[This message has been edited by fowlplay (edited 09-11-2012).]

[This message has been edited by fowlplay (edited 09-11-2012).]

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mwk
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posted 09-11-2012 04:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mwk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Refuge Objectives

Provide habitat for migratory birds.
Provide habitat and protection for endangered and threatened species.
Provide habitat for natural wildlife diversity.
Provide opportunities for wildlife-dependent recreation including hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, environmental education, and interpretation.
General Brochure (PDF 715kb) http://www.fws.gov/southeast/pubs/facts/merritt_island.pdf

Can somebody post where the refuge is only for waterfowl managment cuz I can't find it

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hitch
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posted 09-11-2012 06:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hitch     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think anyone said that.

Here is the CCP:
http://www.fws.gov/southeast/planning/PDFdocuments/MerrittIslandFinal/Formatted%20Merritt%20Island%20Final%20CCP.pdf

Hitch

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fowlplay
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posted 09-11-2012 06:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fowlplay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by hitch:
MINWR was created to enhance the area for migratory waterfowl. This is still a priority for the refuge.


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marshnole11
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posted 09-11-2012 06:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for marshnole11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Duckbone hit the nail on the head. Everything that is being done has been proven to work and will benefit both parties. this idea that total reconnection is going to fix everything is BS and there is NO PROOF THAT IT WILL WORK. one thing is for sure is that it will destroy thousands of acres of wading and waterfowl habitat.

Before the culverts the fish had no way of getting into the impoundments, before the dikes the fish had no way of getting back into the ponds. If the fisherman and the crabbers would stop being so damn greedy and busting open the locks then we would not have an issue with fish kills in the impoundments because there would be no fish in the impoundments.

Bottom line is that we need to have a balanced management plan that both is beneficial to the migratory bird habitat and the health of the lagoon and the species living in it. But dont give me this BS that there is a decline in fisheries because that argument is bunk, the problem is there is an massive increase is fisherman (especially guides) who are using the goon and hammering the fishery. Every wannabe cool guy wants to fish the goon and stalk the huge schools of reds, problem is more people/same space and now fisherman are being greedy and want more.

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N. Cook
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posted 09-11-2012 07:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for N. Cook     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What we need is a few folks in jail for tampering with the culverts....

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hitch
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posted 09-11-2012 07:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hitch     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Originally posted by hitch:

MINWR was created to enhance the area for migratory waterfowl. This is still a priority for the refuge.


I don't see the word "only" in this sentence.

[This message has been edited by hitch (edited 09-11-2012).]

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hitch
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posted 09-11-2012 07:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hitch     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by N. Cook:
What we need is a few folks in jail for tampering with the culverts....

And they will prosecute if violators are caught.

Hitch

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fowlplay
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posted 09-11-2012 09:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fowlplay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Refuge staff, politicians and even your own tax dollars have worked to remove dikes and restore impoundments with more to come.

" The refuge submitted a list of projects with the hope that one would be funded. As it turned out several projects were selected and funded. Six wetland sites were restored with Stimulus funding where refuge staff removed dikes and reconnected impoundments to the lagoon. The reconnection will help restore the natural salt marsh and allow marine organisms to once again utilize the wetlands. Ultimately these restoration projects will improve water quality and the productivity of the lagoon. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is also interested in marsh restoration and they received $2.7 million in Stimulus Funding for additional restoration work in and around the refuge. The NOAA funding will restore 7 additional impoundments on the refuge and Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas visited the refuge for a briefing on the projects."

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navigator
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posted 09-12-2012 10:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for navigator     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[/QUOTE]Salt water tolerant fresh water plants?
[/B][/QUOTE]

Isn't that what chara and wigeon grass are?

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