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Local Impairments: Guana River Estuary

first page of handout

About the project

Many estuaries have been degraded by nitrogen pollution coming from urban and agricultural run-off, which can lead to algal blooms and eutrophication. Many of these same estuaries have also lost important shellfish communities that can filter water, remove nitrogen, and improve water quality. Restoring shellfish populations can help control eutrophication and achieve mandated water quality targets; however, this approach requires that managers have a good understanding of how nitrogen moves through their estuary and the nitrogen removal capacities of their shellfish communities. This project helps fill this information gap in and around the Guana River Estuary in northeast Florida by leveraging a well established collaborative group, GTM Reserve’s Oyster and Water Quality Task Force and engage additional users, including state agencies, nonprofits and the oyster fishery community that are working to improve water quality in Guana River Estuary. To assist with the development of restoration and management plans, this project is determining how nutrient loads from the lake to the river are affected by hydrology and land use, mapping the current distribution of shellfish communities, quanitfying filtration and nitrogen removal by shellfish, and assessing the relationship between water quality and shellfish health.

About this resource

This fact sheet summarizes the status of waterbodies in the Guana River Estuary watershed as well as the possible types of restoration plans and their tradeoffs.