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Welcome to the technical sessions schedule for the 2015 SEAFWA Annual Meeting.

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Tuesday, November 3 • 11:20am - 11:40am
Evaluation of Oyster Reef Restoration in Coastal Georgia: An Assessment of Restoration Method and Monitoring Metrics

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Shaneese Mackey, Tiffany Taubenheim, Dionne Hoskins –Savannah State University

Oyster reef restoration projects were created in Georgia to replace reefs lost to overfishing or degraded oyster habitat. The benefits of a restored oyster include increased biological diversity and enhanced of water quality. Nineteen sites, (seven natural and 12 restored) were monitored from 2011 to 2015 during the summer with three years of sampling data. Percent cover of live oysters, shell, mud, barnacles, and Spartina alterniflora were measured at each site for three transects subdivided into 1-m^2 quadrats perpendicular to the shoreline and extending to the marsh edge to the mean low water line at low tide. Rugosity, or topographic complexity, reef height, and elevation were also measured at each of the quadrats within each transect. Data were analyzed using Excel and SAS (Cary, N.C.) to assess the change in percent cover, rugosity, height, and slope overtime. Natural sites generally had greater densities of oysters in the upper reef than in the lower reef, while newly restored oyster reefs had greater densities of oysters in the lower reef. The percent cover of oysters monitored in this study should reflect these same characteristics and over time it is expected that restored reefs will transition into a natural reef like appearance. Results from this study suggest more sites that were restored using different methods, shell bags or spat sticks, should be compared in order to understand which method would most effective.

Tuesday November 3, 2015 11:20am - 11:40am EST

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