MAREX has worked with many organizations over the last decade to collect water quality information and conduct educational outreach programs in Georgia.
Partners have included Riverkeeper® organizations, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources / Coastal Resources Division, Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve, the National Park Service, Boys and Girls Club programs and various schools, colleges, departments and professors.
Deploying data recording devices
Hydromodification Best Management Practices Manual
Hydromodification is the alteration of coastal or non-coastal waters which may degrade those resources or systems resulting in nonpoint source pollution (USEPA 2007).
The Hydromodification Best Management Practices (BMP) Manual for Coastal Georgia (the Manual) is presented as an addendum to the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Management Measures to Control Nonpoint Source Pollution from Hydromodification (the EPA Manual). The Manual was made possible through a Clean Water Act 319(h) grant from the GA EPD Non-point Source Management Program.
For a more comprehensive review of all aspects of hydromodification, its impacts, and associated solutions please refer to the EPA Manual (US EPA 2007) at this link, http://www.epa.gov/owow/NPS/hydromod/. The EPA Manual and this addendum were developed to provide tools for better, less intrusive methods of implementing and maintaining hydromodification projects and activities such as proper dam and impoundment construction; techniques in ditching, dredging and channelization; and buffer tools to combat shoreline and streambank erosion. The goal of these activities is to reduce nonpoint sources pollution through implementation of these practices.
National Park Service Coastal Park Assessment
MAREX conducted probabilistic surveys in collaboration with the National Park Service at seven Southwest Coast Network parks over a four-year period beginning in 2007.
MAREX recorded water column data and collected water and/or sediment samples from 30 randomly selected stations within these parks: Cumberland Island National Seashore, Fort Pulaski National Monument, Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, Fort Frederica National Monument, Canaveral National Seashore and Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras National Seashores (two parks combined as one study).
The protocols and quality control procedures for sampling and laboratory analyses complied with the EPA's Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program and the National Coastal Assessment's Quality Assurance project plan.
Full project reports can be accessed at the National Park Services website.
The following reports were generated:
Gregory, M. B, J. C. DeVivo, P. H. Flournoy, and K. A. Smith. 2010. Assessment of estuarine water quality at Cumberland Island National Seashore, 2007. Natural Resource Data Series NPS/SECN/NRDS—2010/121. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.
Gregory, M. B, J. C. DeVivo, P. H. Flournoy, and K. A. Smith. 2010. Assessment of estuarine water quality at Fort Pulaski National Monument, 2007. Natural Resource Data Series NPS/SECN/NRDS—2010/117. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.
Gregory, M. Brian, J.C. DeVivo, P. H. Flournoy, and K. A. Smith. 2011. Assessment of estuarine water and sediment quality at Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, 2008. Natural Resource Data Series NPS/SECN/NRDS—2011/134. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.
Gregory, M. B, J. C. DeVivo, P. H. Flournoy, and K. A. Smith. 2010. Assessment of estuarine water quality at Fort Frederica National Monument, 2008. Natural Resource Data Series NPS/SECN/NRDS—2010/114. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.
Gregory, M. Brian, and K. A. Smith. 2011. Assessment of estuarine water and sediment quality at Canaveral National Seashore, 2009. Natural Resource Report NPS/SECN/NRDS—2011/283. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.
Gregory, M. Brian, and K. A. Smith. 2011. Assessment of estuarine water and sediment quality at Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras National Seashores, 2010. Natural Resource Data SeriesNPS/SECN/NRDS—2011/179. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.
Smith, K. A. 2011. Assessing coastal sediment and waters in Southeast Coast Network parks: Final project report. Natural Resource Report NPS/SECN/NRR—2011/433. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.
Outdoor Learning Library
MAREX worked in partnership with the Glynn County Board of Education for several years to provide outdoor learning opportunities for children underperforming in classroom science. Learning experiences were designed to create interest and enthusiasm in science by providing activities during which students could see, touch, and experience plants and animals found in Georgia’s coastal environment. Activities focused on threats to sea life such as water pollution, marine debris, and invasive species and highlighted basic ecological concepts such as species mimicry and predator-prey interactions.
Baseline water quality data provides a useful record of past and present water conditions. When certain water characteristics are measured and compared to numeric standards, the overall health of a water body, such as an estuary, can be evaluated. Monitoring can provide valuable information for species survival. For example, shrimp and many other marine species depend on specific salinity ranges during larval stages of their life cycle. Monitoring for trends can help managers make science-based decisions to benefit marine animals and habitats.
With funding from DNR’s Coastal Incentive Grant Program, water quality studies were conducted in the Satilla, Ogeechee, Altamaha, St. Marys and Julienton rivers. Temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, and light attenuation profiles were recorded during these studies. Water samples were collected for laboratory analysis of biological oxygen demand, bacteria levels, suspended sediment, chlorophyll-a, and nutrient loads. Data recording devices were deployed at chosen locations to measure water parameters over time. An extensive tide and current survey was conducted in the Ogeechee River in cooperation with the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, during which seven Acoustic Doppler Profilers were deployed in the estuary.
Grocery Store Reusable Bag Project
MAREX initiated a pilot project focusing on barriers to changing human behavior by exploring the use of reusable bags as a practical option for Georgia’s consumers in the reduction of marine debris.
Four grocery stores along the Georgia coast were targeted: Piggly Wiggly in Darien; Harris Teeter on St. Simons Island; and Winn Dixie and Publix in Brunswick.
MAREX staff hosted educational outreach events at the stores focusing on the negative impact of plastic bags in the ocean environment and worked with store managers to reduce the use of plastic bags at each location.
Reusable grocery bags from each store were given away for free at the on-site events to encourage patrons’ use of these plastic bag alternatives. In total over 500 reusable grocery bags were distributed to members of the public and hundreds of shoppers were educated about marine debris impacts.