Apalachicola Reserve An Asset for Local Fisheries
Photo courtesy of the Apalachicola Reserve.
“The bay’s health is directly linked to the amount of flow from the Apalachicola River,” says Steven Rash, President of Water Street Seafood, a wholesale distributor in Apalachicola. “Continued reduction of water flow has increased salinity to the point that the fisheries in the bay are being destroyed. This loss has been devastating to the economy and way of life in Franklin County and the surrounding region.”
Rash notes that the Apalachicola Bay Reserve is a resource in addressing this issue, as it “conducts a vital program that monitors the water quality of the bay.” For example, the reserve’s monitoring program looks at trends in the bay’s salinity, which has been generally increasing throughout the bay, especially during the drought years. This could have pronounced effects on local habitats and species, including oysters.
“Our data are used to assess long-term changes in the bay caused by a variety of influences,” observes Reserve Manager Jenna Harper. “These include upstream water diversions, land-use changes, global climate change, and man-made alterations, as well as the short-term effects of hurricanes, local storm events, and other natural events.”