Status and Trends of Wetland and Aquatic Habitats on Barrier Islands, Upper Texas Coast, Galveston and Christmas Bays

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Wetland and aquatic habitats are essential components of barrier islands along the Texas coast. These valuable resources are highly productive both biologically and chemically and are part of an ecosystem on which a variety of flora and fauna depend. Scientific investigations of wetland distribution and abundance through time are prerequisites to effective habitat management, thereby ensuring their protection and preservation and directly promoting long-term biological productivity and public use. This report presents results of an investigation to determine the current status and historical trends of wetlands and associated aquatic habitats along the upper coast of Texas' barrier island system from the northeastern corner of Galveston's East Bay to the southwestern corner of Christmas Bay. The study area encompasses Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston Island, and Follet's Island, an area that is located within Galveston and Brazoria Counties along the upper Texas coast (Fig. 1). Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula are broad accretionary barriers with low fore-island dunes, extensive back-island estuarine marshes, and numerous relict beach ridges and intervening swales that are the sites of palustrine marshes in the central part of the island. Development is extensive on Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula. Follet's Island, a much narrower barrier that is undergoing erosion along much of its length, is characterized by low fore-island dunes, productive back-island estuarine marshes, and in adjacent Christmas Bay, ecologically important seagrass beds.


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