This project supports monitoring of the effects and implications of oil on the coastal ecosystem of the Pontchartrain Basin, Louisiana. The monitoring work proposed here builds on existing monitoring programs addressing important ecosystem processes and functions by specifically seeking to identify oil related changes and the nature and status of the oiling.
Additionally, the proposal addresses the dynamics of the estuaries and the transport processes influencing the distribution of oil through the coastal ecosystem, as well as changes to the coastal environment related to the spill mitigation measures, e.g., the placement of sand berms adjacent to the northern Chandeleur islands. Monitoring includes tracking and assessment of the effects of oiling on: submerged aquatic vegetation, bivalves including oysters (Crassostrea virginica) and clams (Rangio cuneata), nekton, and marsh vegatation. Process surveys will include measurements of flows and particulate transport along bay-Gulf gradients, and bathymetric and shoreline surveys of areas where dredging and placement of sand has occurred. Water samples, together with select samples of tissue, vegetation and sediment as appropriate, will be colelcted for laboratory analysis of oil and oil residue.