Evaluation of the Use of Grid Platforms to Minimize Shading Impacts to Seagrasses
ENGINEER RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER VICKSBURG MS
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Seagrasses are widely recognized as one of the most productive and valuable habitats in shallow marine environments. In addition to providing habitat and nursery grounds for many fishery species of commercial and recreational importance, seagrasses also filter the water column and stabilize sediments. The amount of available light is one of the most important factors affecting the survival, growth, and depth distribution of seagrasses Bulthuis 1983, Dennison 1987, Abal et al. 1994, Kenworthy and Fonseca 1996. Although the seagrass response to light has been reported in numerous studies Bulthuis 1983, Neverauskas 1988, Abal et al. 1994, Gordon et al. 1994, Czerny and Dunton 1995, Fitzpatrick and Kirkman 1995, published reports which document the effects of shading by dock structures are rare. Due to the limited data available, there has been a lack of consistency in the development and application of regulatory policy to address dock shading impacts. Guidelines concerning the placement, height, width, and type of construction for docks and piers over seagrasses often address light availability to the underlying seagrass beds by setting minimum height and maximum width of the dock, spacing of the decking, etc. These guidelines have often been based on very limited surveys or best professional judgment and have been criticized for a lack of supporting data to evaluate their effectiveness.
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography