Where has the grass gone? Factors impacting submerged aquatic vegetation bring together partners at Mattamuskeet NWR

//Where has the grass gone? Factors impacting submerged aquatic vegetation bring together partners at Mattamuskeet NWR
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Part of the Southeast Aquatic Resources Conservation Science and Practice Webinar Series, sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region. To see other webinars in this series, visit http://www.fws.gov/southeast/webinars/.

Where has the grass gone? Factors impacting submerged aquatic vegetation bring together partners at Mattamuskeet NWR

Wednesday, February 15, 10:00 am ET

Lake Mattamuskeet is a lake located on the Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula on the eastern coast of North Carolina (Figure 1). The 40,000-acre Lake Mattamuskeet is the centerpiece of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), which provides habitat for wintering waterfowl and other migratory birds. Protecting and enhancing healthy wetland and aquatic ecosystems on the refuge, with a focus on the ecological integrity of Lake Mattamuskeet, is a top priority for the USFWS. USFWS and its partners have become increasingly concerned with the declines occurring in submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) in the lake. Researchers and refuge staff have noted the changes in SAV over time and as result, a partnership between USFWS, USGS, NC DWR, and NC WRC was formed in 2012 so that a water-quality monitoring program could be implemented. While water quality could be managed based on historic conditions or the life requisites of particular fish and wildlife species, it has been decided that organizing monitoring and research around the conservation of the lake’s SAV as an overall indicator of the health of the lake ecosystem would be the best way to implement strategic habitat conservation at Lake Mattamuskeet. Using SAV coverage as our endpoint, future research and monitoring needs are aimed at identifying potential strategies that may reduce HAB and cyanotoxin production in Lake Mattamuskeet and promote SAV growth in the Lake. These strategies include, but are not limited to implementation of water control structures on surrounding lands, timing hydrologic releases from impoundments and the lake, nutrient abatement strategies with local farmers, carp removal in the lake, and large-scale projects aimed at changing lake level management at Lake Mattamuskeet.

Michelle Moorman* (USFWS – Mattamuskeet NWR, NC), Tom Augspurger and John Stanton (USFWS – Raleigh, NC)

*Indicates presenter

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