BIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF DREDGING IN AN OFFSHORE BORROW AREA.
Johnson, Robert O.
Nelson, Walter G.
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Changes in benthic fauna were monitored following excavation of an offshore borrow area in the vicinity of Fort Pierce Inlet, Florida. Sampling stations were established along 2 transects located in the borrow area, 1 control transect north of the borrow area, and 1 control transect south of the borrow area. Results suggest that relatively larger reductions in abundance, but not number of species, of the benthic fauna occurred in the borrow area following dredging as compared with the controls. Therefore the decrease observed appears greater than can be accounted for on the basis of seasonal changes alone. Both parameters returned to pre-dredging levels in from 9-12 months. Species composition, however, was altered in the borrow area and had not returned to the pre-dredging composition after 12 months. It is probable that this species shift is not detrimental in that it resembles the species composition at other undisturbed locations in this region.