A comparison of biological abundances in three adjacent bay systems downstream from the Golden Gate Estates canal system
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A comparison of biological abundances in three adjacent bay systems downstream from the Golden Gate Estates canal system
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    "Estuaries provide nursery habitat for recreationally and commercially important fish and shellfish and their prey species. Many human activities along the coastline degrade the value of estuaries as nursery habitat. Increasing urban, industrial, and agricultural development have contributed heavily to man's modifications of estuaries along a 100-km wide coastal belt stretching from Florida to Texas (Hackney 1978, Lindall et al. 1979, Redelfs 1983), and the rate of these modifications parallels the current annual population explosion of 24 percent, which is about three times that for the entire Un:i.ted States (Thayer and Ustauch 1981). Determination of the biological effect of these alterations is needed to formulate rational management guidelines for protection and conservation of estuarine habitats. In fisheries of the Gulf of Mexico, estuaries play a particularly important role as nursery grounds. Over 95 percent of the commercial catch and a large proportion of the recreational catch depend on estuaries for survival during some portion of the life cycle (Rounsefell 1975). Many species that are in the Gulf of Mexico as adults are in the estuaries as juveniles. Sykes and Finucane (1966) reported that, while few species are caught commercially in Tampa Bay, the 23 offshore species of major commercial :importance inhabit Tampa Bay as juveniles. Thus, for all types of fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico, it is imperative that the value of estuaries as nursery habitat be protected. Studies that relate species abundances to habitat characteristics and environmental variables and that evaluate the effect on habitat of man made changes lay the foundation for legislation and management to protect estuaries. In this report we present results of a study to evaluate the effect of channeling the drainage from a 600-km wetland known as Golden Gate Estates into a small embayment, Faka Union Bay (Fig. 1), which is a part of the Ten Thousand Islands area of coastal southwest Florida (Fig. 2). Since we had little quantitative information on Faka Union Bay prior to the channelization, our approach was to compare abundances of major taxa of juvenile fish, macroinvertebrates, and ichthyoplankton (postlarval fish) in Faka Union Bay to that in two adjacent bays not receiving the channelized flow: Fakahatchee Bay, immediately to the east, which is hydraulically connected to Faka Union Bay, and Pumpkin Bay, immediately to the west, which is somewhat isolated from it hydraulically"--Introduction.
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