Characterizing Jobos Bay, Puerto Rico: a watershed modeling analysis and monitoring plan
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AuthorZitello, Adam G.
Whitall, David R.
Christensen, John D.
Monaco, Mark E.
Rohmann, Steven O.
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractLand-based pollution is commonly identified as a major contributor to the observed deterioration of shallow-water coral reef ecosystem health. Human activity on the coastal landscape often induces nutrient enrichment, hypoxia, harmful algal blooms, toxic contamination and other stressors that have degraded the quality of coastal waters. Coral reef ecosystems throughout Puerto Rico, including Jobos Bay, are under threat from coastal land uses such as urban development, industry and agriculture. The objectives of this report were two-fold: 1. To identify potentially harmful land use activities to the benthic habitats of Jobos Bay, and 2. To describe a monitoring plan for JobosBay designed to assess the impacts of conservation practices implemented on the watershed.This characterization is a component of the partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) established by the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) in Jobos Bay. CEAP is a multi-agency effort to quantify the environmental benefits of conservation practices used by private landowners participating in USDA programs. The Jobos Bay watershed, located in southeastern Puerto Rico, was selected as the first tropical CEAP Special Emphasis Watershed (SEW). Both USDA and NOAA use their respective expertise in terrestrial and marine environments to model and monitor Jobos Bay resources.This report documents NOAA activities conducted in the first year of the three-year CEAP effort in Jobos Bay. Chapter 1 provides a brief overview of the project and background information on Jobos Bay and its watershed. Chapter 2 implements NOAA’s Summit to Sea approach to summarize the existing resource conditions on the watershed and in the estuary. Summit to Sea uses a GIS-based procedure that links patterns of land use in coastal watersheds to sediment and pollutant loading predictions at the interface between terrestrial and marineenvironments. The outcome of Summit to Sea analysis is an inventory of coastal land use and predicted pollution threats, consisting of spatial data and descriptive statistics, which allows for better management of coral reef ecosystems. Chapters 3 and 4 describe the monitoring plan to assess the ecological response to conservationpractices established by USDA on the watershed.Jobos Bay is the second largest estuary in Puerto Rico, but has more than three times the shoreline of any other estuarine area on the island. It is a natural harbor protected from offshore wind and waves by a series of mangrove islands and the Punta Pozuelo peninsula. The Jobos Bay marine ecosystem includes 48 km² of mangrove, seagrass, coral reef and other habitat types that span both intertidal and subtidal areas. Mapping of Jobos Bay revealed 10 different benthic habitats of varying prevalence, and a large area of unknown bottom type covering 38% of the entire bay. Of the known benthic habitats, submerged aquatic vegetation, primarily seagrass, is the most common bottom type, covering slightly less than 30% of the bay. Mangroves are the dominant shoreline feature, while coral reefs comprise only 4% of the total benthic habitat. However, coral reefs are some of the most productive habitats found in Jobos Bay, and provide important habitat and nursery grounds for fish and invertebrates of commercial and recreational value.
Publisher or UniversityNOAA/National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
Series : NrNOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS