Post-hurricane Ike recovery of upper Texas coast beaches and their role in sea turtle recovery

2010-2013 - $163,900

Andre Landry
Department of Marine Biology
Texas A&M University at Galveston

Abstract

Recovery of upper Texas coast (UTC) beaches ravaged by Hurricane Ike will be evaluated long term in relation to repairing environmental damage to constituent beaches and strengthening the resiliency required for healthy coastal ecosystems to function. Post-Ike recovery of beach ecosystems from Bolivar Peninsula to Surfside will be characterized by coupling comparative assessments of habitat restoration efforts with those of an ecological function, sea turtle nesting, whose success depends on said recovery. Kemp’s ridley nesting dynamics on UTC beaches during 2009-2011, when characterized as to type and quality of habitat (as determined by beach and sediment profiles) over which nesting occurs, will be used as an index of ecosystem recovery. Nesting, beach morphology and sediment data collected on UTC beaches during 2007-08 will provide a baseline on which to assess changes in nesting activity that may have resulted from Ike’s impact and/or the success of habitat restoration. Satellite telemetry will determine intra-nesting season fidelity of pre- and post-Ike nesters to UTC beaches and habitat types on which repeated nesting occurs. Post-Ike nesting trends will be used to assess the UTC’s potential to support a Kemp’s ridley nesting colony complementing that on this species’ primary nesting beach at Rancho Nuevo, Mexico.