Under subcontract to Applied Technology & Management, Inc. (ATM), Coastal Eco-Group, Inc is providing ecological and environmental permitting support services for a shore protection project at Long Key State Park in the Florida Keys. The first step in this process was the baseline benthic habitat mapping and characterization survey of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) and hardbottom communities adjacent to the Long Key State Park shoreline. The benthic habitat survey and mapping activities were conducted in September 2009. Several state and federal regulatory and resource protection agency staff conducted a site inspection in conjunction with the survey.
Sixty-eight (68) cross-shore transects, which extended 180 meters from the shoreline, were sampled using line-intercept and point-quadrat samples. DGPS positioning of the landward edge of seagrass and intertidal hardbottom platform/ rubble communities was obtained using a Trimble PRO-XR Pathfinder DGPS with TerraSync software. Transitions in habitat types along each cross-shore transect were also recorded with DGPS to assist in the production of detailed benthic habitat maps.
The Long Key shoreline supports a mosaic of habitat types including sandy bottom, mucky bottom, rubble communities with calcareous algae, intertidal hardbottom platform with macroalgae, calcareous
Long Key State Park Benthic Habitat Mapping and Characterization Survey
macroalgal beds, seagrass beds (shoal grass, turtle grass, and manatee grass), seagrass-coralline algal communities (Thalassia-Coralline Algae-Porites zone) and offshore subtidal hardbottom with coralline algae and sparse turtle grass.
Working in conjunction with CEG scientists, the benthic habitat map information is being utilized by coastal engineers at ATM to develop project design alternatives which avoid/ minimize potential impacts to these sensitive habitats. After the preferred project alternative has been developed following avoidance/minimization measures, CEG scientists will assist with the development of the Joint Coastal Permit application and responses to agency requests for additional information during review of the permit application. In consultation with the regulatory and resource protection agencies, CEG scientists will evaluate the mitigation requirements for the project using the Florida Uniform Mitigation Assessment Method (UMAM) and develop a mitigation plan to compensate for impacts to submerged aquatic vegetation and hardbottom habitats.
Coastal Eco-Group, Inc.
665 SE 10th Street, Suite 104
Deerfield Beach, FL 33441