||2017 Barnegat Bay Prospectus: Monitoring, Assessment, and research priorities for the BB-LEH ecosystem to support science-based watershed management
||This document is the second research prospectus developed by the BBP's Science and Technical Advisory Committee. Consistent with the priority areas identified in the 2012-2016 Strategic Plan, and building on the knowledge gained through the last several years of research, the five main categories of studies detailed in this prospectus are considered critical to advancing our understanding of the bay and monitoring the effectiveness of restoration activities. Addressing the research priorities and remaining data gaps identified in this second prospectus will help ensure our collective commitment to science-based decision-making and guide future actions to protect and restore the bay and its contributing watershed.
||Assessing the Status of Barnegat Bay Submerged Aquatic Vegetation - 2015
||Barnegat Bay has been experiencing a decline of Zostera marina, the important ecosystem engineer which provides a diverse suite of services which increase the diversity and productivity of coastal ecosystems. As efforts are made to reduce those stressors negatively impacting submerged aquatic vegetation health, primarily euthrophication, monitoring is necessary to assess the efficacy of these measures and the role of water quality on overall habitat resiliency. The objective of this project was to provide ongoing quantitative measures on the health of the primary indicators, submerged aquatic vegetation, at a subset of sites throughout northern, central and southern Barnegat Bay. The northern region was dominated by Ruppia maritima and the southern region by Zostera marina, with a transitional zone in the central region. Aboveground biomass of Zostera marina indicates there may be a recovering population within the Bay; however, this may be attributed to annual and seasonal variations rather than an upward trend. Continued monitoring is necessary to elucidate any trends. In those central regions with increasing cover by Ruppia maritima, future work is necessary to determine if Ruppia maritima can provide equivalent habitat and ecosystem services as Zostera marina. The majority of macroalgae sampled was in the form of clumped drift algae, which has a temporary impact on Zostera marina and Ruppia maritima health when compared to longer residence blooms. Linkages between these basal primary producers and upper trophic levels is well documented and the future state of Barnegat Bay fauna, including recreationally and commercially important fish and invertebrate species, will be determined by the resilience of this vegetation in the face of changing water quality parameters.
||Water level response in back-barrier bays unchanged following Hurricane Sandy
||On 28-30 October 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused severe flooding along portions of the northeast coast of the United States and cut new inlets across barrier islands in New Jersey and New York. About 30% of the 20 highest daily maximum water levels observed between 2007 and 2013 in Barnegat and Great South Bay occurred in 5 months following Hurricane Sandy. Hurricane Sandy provided a rare opportunity to determine whether extreme events alter systems protected by barrier islands, leaving the mainland more vulnerable to flooding. Comparisons between water levels before and after Hurricane Sandy at bay stations and an offshore station show no significant differences in the transfer of sea level fluctuations from offshore to either bay following Sandy. The post-Hurricane Sandy bay high water levels reflected offshore sea levels caused by winter storms, not by barrier island breaching or geomorphic changes within the bays.
||Application and assessment of a nutrient pollution indicator using eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) in Barnegat BayLittle Egg Harbor estuary, New Jersey
||Eutrophication degrades numerous estuaries worldwide and a myriad of assessment metrics have been developed. Here, we apply an example of a previously developed metric (Lee et al., 2004) designed to indicate incipient estuarine eutrophication to validate this technique in an already eutrophic estuary end-member, Barnegat BayLittle Egg Harbor, New Jersey. The metric, termed Nutrient Pollution Indicator (NPI) uses eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) as a bioindicator and is calculated as the ratio of leaf nitrogen content (%N) to area normalized leaf mass (mg dry wt cm−2). Seagrass samples were collected along the entire length of the Barnegat BayLittle Egg Harbor from June to October 2008 to determine if leaf chemistry
and morphology reflect eutrophication status and a northsouth gradient of nitrogen loading from the Barnegat Bay watershed. Nitrogen content, area normalized leaf mass, and NPI values all significantly (p < 0.05) varied temporally but not spatially. NPI values did not significantly correspond to the northsouth gradient of nitrogen loading from the Barnegat Bay watershed. The NPI metric is therefore not deemed to reliably indicate estuarine eutrophic status. Differences between sampling effort (number of stations) and replication did not bias the overall conclusions.
||Comparison of remotely-sensed surveys vs. in situ plot-based assessments of seagrass condition in Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey USA
||This paper examines the utility of remotely sensed vs. in situ plot-based monitoring in the Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor (BBLEH), New Jersey, USA estuarine system. We compared the remotely-sensed mapping of seagrass cover change (in 2003 vs. 2009) vs. in situ plot-based monitoring conducted from 2004 through 2009. Comparison of the remotely-sensed vs. the in situ plot-change analysis suggests that the two methodologies had broadly similarly results, with the percent area showing declines in sea grass cover greater than those that exhibited increases. In conclusion, the two studies provide corroborating evidence that sea grass has
declined in percent cover in the BB-LEH system during the decade of the 2000s.
||Fuzzy cognitive mapping in support of integrated ecosystem assessments: Developing a shared conceptual model among stakeholders
||Using Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping the authors constructed a series of ecosystems models of the Barnegat Bay based on stakeholder perceptions of ecosystem function and linkages. They then compared the models of different stakeholders to look for commonalities and differences that could be used to advance Ecosystem Based Management of the bay.
||Modeling Zostera marina restoration potential in Barnegat Bay
||The goal of this study, conducted by Stockton University, was to refine and apply the model developed by Jarvis et al. (2014) to quantify SAV resiliency to perturbations through modelling loss and recovery processes within established SAV beds in BB-LEH.
||Factors Governing the Vulnerability of Coastal Marsh Platforms to Sea Level Rise
||Synopsis of the scientific knowledge on the factors that contribute to vertical losses in brackish and saline marshes of the Mid-Atlantic. Vertical losses, or those driven by platform elevation declines, can be largely attributed to functional impairment. Horizontal loss, also a large contributor to wetland acreage decline, is governed by factors such as edge erosion. This orientation seeks to aid coastal managers and practitioners in understanding the complex array of factors that affect platform (vertical) vulnerabilities of the coastal wetlands in our region.
||Barriers, Limits and Limitations to Resilience
||Enhancing resilience has become a key element of preparedness for extreme events and climate change. While much progress has been made in defining components of resilience, many questions remain about identification of appropriate strategies for building resilience, barriers to implementation of these strategies, and limits to the potential effectiveness of these efforts. New questions are also emerging about inherent limitations of resilience based approaches, suggesting that resiliency efforts must be coupled with broader transformations of the social and political conditions that create and perpetuate vulnerabilities. Investigation of resilience options and barriers has particular resonance for urbanized coastal communities, many of which face significant climate hazards and development related pressures and are also encountering a suite of technical, political, financial, legal, and policy hurdles to adaptation. This study explored these issues in coastal New Jersey, USA. The methodology entailed a co-production approach, whereby stakeholders and researchers collaborated in the development of climate risk and vulnerability information and identification of resilience options and barriers. The collaboration provided important insights into barriers, limits and limitations of on-going resilience-building efforts but also revealed potential openings for transformation.
||Role of Plant and Soil Community Structure in Riparian Soil Nutrient Retention
||The goal of this research was to assess the feedbacks among non-‐point source pollution, plant communities, and soil community structure along a riparian corridor of the Barnegat Bay Watershed (BBW). We examined soil and plant community composition in the summer of 2013 along the Toms River, looking at the the effects of urbanization on flora, bacterial and fungal communities along a riparian corridor in both floodplain and upland zones. Ultimately, understanding the interactions between the plant and soil communities has allowed us here to make recommendations of restoration targets in the BBW.
||Soil Health Improvement Project
||This report summarizes the activities of the Ocean County Soil Conservation District's Soil Health Improvement Project (SHiP) conducted at Jake's Branch County Park. The project consisted of 1)the identification of optimal physical, chemical, and biological properties of Ocean County's sandy soils to improve infiltration and reduce runoff and nutrient loss, and 2) the development of simple, low coast and practical soil restoration techniques that are transferable to homeowners. This was accomplished through a blend of research and outreach and education.
||Assessment of nutrient loading and eutrophication in Barnegat Bay - Little Egg Harbor, NJ in support of nutrient management planning
||This investigation is part of a multi-year, interdisciplinary effort by Rutgers University and the USGS that characterizes and quantifies the estuary with regard to watershed nutrient inputs, physical and water quality properties, and biological indicators and responses. Extensive databases collected over the 1989-2011 timeframe have been examined in this study. Component 1 of the study involves watershed nutrient loading quantification from existing (secondary) data. In Component 2, estuarine biotic responses to stressors and the current degree of eutrophication are quantified from new and secondary data. In Component 3, biotic indices are developed, and values of the indices are computed. The current extent and validation of eutrophication are determined in Component 4. Synthesis and management recommendations are developed in Component 5.
||Silver Bay Watershed Microbial Source Tracking
||This report, prepared by Birdsall Engineering and Monmouth University, identifies potential sources of pathogenic bacteria with the Silver Bay watershed and presents recommendation for reducing bacterial levels and improving overall water quality.
||BENEFICIAL USE OF DREDGED MATERIAL TO RESTORE WETLANDS FOR COASTAL FLOOD MITIGATION BARNEGAT BAY , NEW JERSEY
||The Richard Stockton College Coastal Research Center(CRC)and the Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute(UCI)have completed a reconnaissancelevel project to determine if there is a relationship between selected areas of intertidal wetland (i.e. Spartina alterniflora salt marsh) edge erosion along the mainland shoreline of Barnegat Bay and nearby state channels
as well as other waterways in need of dredging which were shoaled as a result of Hurricane Sandy. The goal of the project is to identify eroded edges of intertidal wetlands that can be restored to pre-existing conditions can be defined as using sediment dredged from the shoaled state navigation channels in an effort to reduce future flood risk to adjacent coastal development.
||Quantifying the Residence Time and Flushing Characteristics of a Shallow, Back-Barrier Estuary: Application of Hydrodynamic and Particle Tracking Models
||Estuarine residence time is a major driver of eutrophication and water quality. Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor (BB-LEH), New Jersey, is a lagoonal back-barrier estuary that is subject to anthropogenic pressures including nutrient loading, eutrophication, and subsequent declines in water quality. A combination of hydrodynamic and particle tracking modeling was used to identify the mechanisms controlling flushing, residence time, and spatial variability of particle retention. The models demonstrated a pronounced northward subtidal flow from Little Egg Inlet in the south to Pt. Pleasant Canal in the north due to frictional effects in the inlets, leading to better flushing of the southern half of the estuary and particle retention in the northern estuary. Mean residence time for BB-LEH was 13 days but spatial variability was between ∼0 and 30 days depending on the initial particle location. Mean residence time with tidal forcing alone was 24 days (spatial variability between ∼0 and 50 days); the tides were relatively inefficient in flushing the northern end of the Bay. Scenarios with successive exclusion of physical processes from the models revealed that meteorological and remote offshore forcing were stronger drivers of exchange than riverine inflow. Investigations of water quality and eutrophication should take into account spatial variability in hydrodynamics and residence time in order to better quantify the roles of nutrient loading, production, and flushing.
||Resilience. Preparing New Jersey for Climate Change: Policy Considerations from the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance
||Resilience: Preparing New Jersey for Climate Change: Policy Considerations from the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance is the culmination of a deliberative research and stakeholder engagement process undertaken by the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance (the Alliance), a network of policymakers, public and private sector practitioners, academics, nongovernmental organizations, and business leaders designed to build climate change preparedness capacity in New Jersey. The mission of the Alliance is to identify, demonstrate, recommend and communicate policies and activities that can prepare New Jerseys vulnerable sectors to better meet the anticipated impacts of climate change. The individuals and organizations that comprise the Alliance Advisory Committee agree that the recommendations in this report present the compelling issues to be addressed as part of a statewide climate change adaptation discussion.
||Concentrations, loads, and yields of total nitrogen and total phosphorus in the Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor watershed, New Jersey, 19892011, at multiple spatial scales
||Concentrations, loads, and yields of nutrients (total nitrogen and total phosphorus) were calculated by the USGS for the Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor (BB-LEH) watershed for 19892011 at annual and seasonal (growing and nongrowing) time scales. Concentrations, loads, and yields were calculated at three spatial scales: for each of the 81 subbasins specified by 14-digit hydrologic unit codes (HUC-14s); for each of the three BB-LEH watershed segments, which coincide with segmentation of the BB-LEH estuary; and for the entire BB-LEH watershed. Base-flow and runoff values were calculated separately and were combined to provide total values.
||Economic Vulnerability to Climate Change in Coastal New Jersey: A Stakeholder-Based Assessment
||This study investigates economic vulnerabilities to climate extremes and climate change in
coastal New Jersey before and after Hurricane Sandy. Drawing upon methodological
best-practices in climate adaptation and disaster risk management, which emphasize coproduction of climate assessment information, the study employs a stakeholder-based
approach to identify key climate-related economic stresses, risks and vulnerabilities.
Interviews with stakeholders conducted in the months prior to Sandy highlighted a myriad
of climatic, environmental and economic stresses in the region and revealed a wide range
of economic assets, activities, and populations that are economically vulnerable. Post-
Sandy meetings with stakeholders reinforced findings of the pre-Sandy interviews but also
brought to light some new and unexpected vulnerabilities. The study illustrates the value of
stakeholder participation in economic vulnerability assessments, including deeper and
more nuanced understanding of local economic assets, activities, and populations at risk to
climate extremes and climate change. The study also demonstrates the importance of
stakeholder-engagement for creating buy-in to the climate assessment process and for
facilitating new learning opportunities in a post-disaster context. Given climatic nonstationarity and continually evolving economic conditions, stakeholder-based assessments
will need to be conducted and updated on an on-going basis in order to ensure continual
relevance to post-disaster learning and response.
||Characterization of phytoplankton functional taxonomic groups in relation to juvenile hard clam production in the Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor Estuary (BB-LEH).
||This study, led by Dr. Monica Bricelj of Rutgers University, focused on identifying the phytoplankton functional taxonomic groups (FTGs) present in Barnegat Bay through a novel process involving chemical analysis of photopigments and comparing the results of that process to that of standard microscopy. Furthermore, the investigators then relate FTG data derived from this project to the field performance (growth and survival) of juveniles of a key suspension-feeder, Mercenaria mercenaria, used as a biosensor of environmental conditions in BB-LEH.
||Sea Nettle Polyp Settlement Pilot Study
||In the summer of 2013 Barnegat Bay Partnership technicians undertook a pilot study to assess the feasibility of using underwater photography to determine preferred materials and locations for sea nettle polyp settlement. This report summarizes the methodology and findings, and includes recommendations for utilizing this technique in the future.