Conceptual Model Development for Sea Turtle Nesting Habitat: Support for USACE Navigation Projects
ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS VICKSBURG MS ENGINEER RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER
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This Dredging Operations and Environmental Research Technical Note DOERTN describes the development of a conceptual model of key, spatial parameters and value range schemes to include in a spatially explicit ecological model for sea turtle nesting habitat. Much of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastlines are designated as critical habitat for loggerhead sea turtle Caretta caretta conservation. The terrestrial critical habitat areas include 88 nesting beaches in coastal counties located in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. Some of these beaches also overlap or are adjacent to areas that have U.S. Army Corps of Engineers USACE Navigation projects or Coastal Storm Damage Risk Reduction projects. The USACE maintains navigation projects through dredging and strategic infrastructure that occur adjacent to many coastlines and through dredged material management activities. In addition, the USACE also utilizes beach nourishment and structures to accomplish some of its Coastal Storm Damage Risk Reduction projects in coastal areas. These projects are mission critical to maintaining safe navigation as well as reducing risk to coastal infrastructure from coastal storms. In addition, dredging of navigation channels provides sediment that can be used beneficially to create or improve the area. Key spatial parameters will be extracted from remote sensing data to be used as input in a spatially explicit ecological model in order to provide a relative suitability of habitat in areas with overlapping critical habitat designation and USACE projects. The model results can provide information needed to identify regional sediment management opportunities, evaluate project alternatives, and assess impacts to support critical USACE mission objectives.
- Civil Engineering
- Environmental Health and Safety