NERRS in the News: October 2017

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October 19, 2017

Photo courtesy of the GTM Reserve.

Guana Tolomato Matanzas Reserve, Florida
Our GTM Reserve is using recent impacts from Hurricane Irma as an opportunity to better understand what happens to the ecosystem in the short-term by studying wildlife displacements and water salinity.

Mission-Aransas Reserve, Texas
The impacts of Hurricane Harvey are not only what we see on land, there were changes to underwater and ecological systems as well. The Mission-Aransas Reserve is working with researchers from the University of Texas Marine Sciences Institute to study the hurricane’s impact on seagrass and what that means to fisheries and fishermen.

Tijuana River Reserve, California
The Tijuana River Estuary is struggling with plunging oxygen levels and sand clogging the opening of the river. This prevents the vital exchange of seawater with freshwater.  It also faces ongoing battles against invasive species, trash, sediment, and massive, rain-driven sewage flows. The Tijuana River Reserve’s SWMP data is helping scientists and managers understand when these events are occurring and how to better monitor declining ecosystem function.

Kachemak Bay Reserve, Alaska
Our Alaska Reserve kicked off a new study focused on learning more about storing carbon in wetlands and how it could be profitable for landowners if they could be compensated for agreeing to not develop in wetlands on their property. The reserve is especially focused on the carbon storage value of peatlands.

Elkhorn Slough Reserve, California
The annual sea otter census was recently completed, and according to data released by the U.S. Geological Survey and partners including the Elkhorn Slough Reserve, the three-year average of total counts of southern sea otters was down from last year’s high. The lower mainland count this year could be due to poorer counting conditions and very sparse kelp canopies, which likely influenced sea otter distribution,” says Dr. Tim Tinker, a research ecologist with USGS. “However, we cannot rule out the possibility that increased mortality also played a role.”

Padilla Bay Reserve, Washington  
Volunteer kayakers formed six teams to survey bull kelp beds in the Salish Sea as part of a larger monitoring effort. Because kelp may be affected by ocean acidification and sea level rise, researchers are gathering information on what’s there now  to have data to compare with what they find in the future. Suzanne Shull at the Padilla Bay Research Reserve is putting the bull kelp data into an online mapping system called Sound IQ, where it can be used by local and regional decision makers.

North Inlet-Winyah Bay Reserve, South Carolina
As part of National Estuaries Week, nearly 40 people came out to help fill a metal sculpture of a fish with trash and debris collected from area beaches. The statue now adorns the lawns of the Hobcaw Barony Discovery Center.

NERRS & Friends Honor Tony Amos
On September 30th, a rescued green sea turtle named Picasso was released back into the Gulf of Mexico carrying the ashes of Tony Amos, the founder of the Amos Rehabilitation Keep (ARK). Tony lost his battle with cancer on September 4th, and as is so fitting for a man who devoted his life to wildlife, a turtle carried his ashes to sea while hundreds of well wishers, including Mission-Aransas Reserve staff, family and friends, looked on.

On October 19, 2017 / NERRS in the News
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