Conservation Partners connecting working lands conservation from the Gulf of Mexico to the High Plains with the vision of a sustainable landscape of natural resources resilient to the threats and stressors associated with our changing world.

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    Ducks Unlimited 4

    Photo courtesy Ducks Unlimited

Delineating marsh habitats along the north-central Gulf of Mexico Coast

Formal Title: Delineation of Fresh, Intermediate, Brackish and Saline Marsh Types of the North-Central Gulf of Mexico Coast

Research Focus: Gulf of Mexico coastal marsh

Conservation & Management Challenges:

The Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative needs contemporary, baseline information on different marsh types along the Gulf of Mexico Coast to support partners in identifying conservation priorities, particularly in planning for various scenarios of sea level rise. Gaps in information also are currently limiting the effectiveness of large-scale conservation efforts in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Research Overview:

Developing this science is a priority for the Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative. Coastal zone managers and researchers often require detailed information regarding emergent marsh vegetation types for modeling habitat capacities and the needs of marsh reliant-wildlife. The project will provide a seamless and standardized classification of emergent marsh vegetation types indicative of salinity zones (i.e., fresh, intermediate, brackish, and saline zones) along the north Central Gulf of Mexico coast from Corpus Christi Bay, Texas, to Mobile Bay, Alabama. It involves developing and refining information through computer-aided spatial modeling to ensure consistency of marsh-related planning efforts among partners.

Results:

A gallery of marsh classification datasets has been uploaded to the GCP LCC Conservation Planning Atlas. The Texas portion of this study (i.e., Corpus Christi Bay to the Sabine River) was published as a U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report.

Status:

The 2-year project was initiated in 2012 and completed in fall 2014. This project was funded by the U.S. Geological Survey South Central Climate Science Center and was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation and collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via the Gulf Coast Joint Venture, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, and Ducks Unlimited, Inc., on behalf of the Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative.

Final Report

Contacts:

Principal Investigator: Steve Hartley, U.S. Geological Survey, National Wetlands Research Center, 700 Cajundome Boulevard, Lafayette, LA 70506

Landscape Conservation Cooperative Point-of-Contact: Bill Bartush, Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative, National Wetlands Research Center, 700 Cajundome Boulevard, Lafayette, LA 70506

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