About this Project
The tidal inlets that flow between our bays and estuaries and the Gulf of Mexico are essential for the survival of many commercially and recreationally significant marine species, including Red Drum, Southern Flounder, and Blue Crab, which rely on these passages to spawn and then grow in fertile sheltered waters. The Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation (CSSC) is studying how reopening Cedar Bayou, a natural tidal inlet between Matagora and San Jose islands that has been closed since 1979, impacts the population densities of juvenile fish within Mesquite Bay’s seagrass nursery habitat. Quantifying the relationship between tidal inlets and juvenile fish populations is crucial to sustainable fish management along the Texas coast.
Cedar Bayou was re-opened in September 2014. Researchers at the CSSC gathered baseline data on the environment adjacent to the waterway for two years prior to its opening. Researchers will now monitor seasonal changes in the abundance of fish and crustaceans for a year. They will also determine if adult Red Drum are using Cedar Bayou as a migration route between the wetlands and the breeding grounds of the Gulf using a tag tracking technology known as acoustic telemetry.
- Establish pre-opening baseline data on nekton assemblages and abundance in habitats adjacent to Cedar Bayou seasonally two years prior to the opening of the inlet.
- Monitor seasonal changes to fish and crustacean abundance and recruitment for one year after Cedar Bayou has been opened.
- Determine if adult Red Drum are using Cedar Bayou as a migration route between the estuarine wetlands and breeding grounds in the Gulf of Mexico using acoustic telemetry
(cover photo courtesy of L. Laskowski)