Valuable Water Monitoring System Destroyed by Harvey Benefits from Grant

Published: June 15, 2018

Valuable Water Monitoring System Destroyed by Harvey Benefits from Grant

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Oyster reefs, salt marshes and a wide range of fisheries which support larger wildlife like the endangered Whooping Crane are all affected by the quality of water that flows from the San Antonio Bay system, located an hour east of Corpus Christi. Under the watchful eye of the Conrad Blucher Institute for Surveying and Science (CBI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, the San Antonio Bay system has received constant monitoring since 2004. That was until Hurricane Harvey destroyed the monitoring station last August.

“In addition to the wildlife, a healthy San Antonio Bay system also supports commercial and recreational fisheries, all of which are dependent on freshwater inflow decision making,” said Larry Lloyd, CBI research specialist II and project lead. “The total annual economic impact of recreational marine fishing in San Antonio Bay includes 206 jobs, $7.6 million in labor income, $11.6 million in value-added and $20.7 million in sales of goods and services.” 

Thanks to a $23,833 grant from The Gulf Research Program (GRP) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Lloyd will now be able to reestablish this valuable monitoring system. A monitoring system that provides valuable data to numerous environmental management organizations.

“Several entities utilized the data for a range of environmental management tasks including supporting freshwater inflow transportation, oil spill response, forecasting of bay conditions and environmental impact evaluations,” said Lloyd. “The data provided by this station was the foundation of important environmental management in the Coastal Bend and all along the Guadalupe River which runs throughout the Texas Hill Country.”

With this funding, Lloyd and his team plan to reinstall the station to the exact specifications as before its destruction. Once back online, the station, an 8-by-8 foot wooden platform outfitted with the latest in technology will provide water temperature, salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen and water current velocity and direction. All of the information will be available to the public in near real-time at cbi.tamucc.edu/cbi/data.

The GRP awards are the result of the second of two fast-track grant cycles for Scientific Research Disaster Recovery Grants announced last November. Four Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi researchers received grants totaling $117,725 in April during the first cycle of the GRP’s Scientific Research Disaster Recovery Grants.

*Research reported in this article was supported by the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine under award number 2000009483. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Gulf Research Program or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.