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Estuaries

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 1436–1447 | Cite as

Effect of restored freshwater inflow on macrofauna and meiofauna in upper Rincon Bayou, Texas, USA

  • Paul A. MontagnaEmail author
  • Richard D. Kalke
  • Christine Ritter
Article

Abstract

Construction of two dams in 1958 and 1982 reduced freshwater inflow events to Rincon Bayou, part of the Nueces Delta near Corpus Christi, Texas, USA. Inflow reduction led to a reverse estuary, where low-salinity water flooded the delta on incoming tides and higher salinities were found near the Nueces River. Hypersaline conditions caused by high evaporation rates and low water levels were common during summer in the upper reaches. In October 1995, an overflow diversion channel was created by lowering the bank of the Nueces River to restore inflow events into Rincon Bayou, which is the main stem creek that runs through the center of the Delta. Hypersaline conditions occurred four times from mid-1994 to mid-1997 and only once after mid-1997. Lower, rather than higher, salinity conditions were found after August 1997 in the upper reaches. Benthic faunal recovery was monitored by changes in macrofauna and meiofauna communities. Macrofauna responded to inflow events with increased abundances, biomass, and diversity but decreased during hypersaline conditions. Meiofauna abundance also increased with increasing inflow. Benthic characteristics were different in Rincon Bayou than in a reference site, upstream from introduced inflow. As inflow events have increased due to the diversion, the opportunities for positive responses to increased flow have increased. Although the oveflow channel was filled in at the end of the demonstration project in fall 2000, the City of Corpus Christi reopened the channel in fall 2001 because the ecological benefits were credited toward the state-mandated minimum flow requirement for the Nueces Estuary.

Keywords

Meiofauna Freshwater Inflow High Evaporation Rate Hypersaline Condition Inflow Event 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Estuarine Research Federation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul A. Montagna
    • 1
    Email author
  • Richard D. Kalke
    • 1
  • Christine Ritter
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Science InstituteThe University of Texas at AustinPort Aransas

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