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Mississippi Coastal Improvement Program (MsCIP)  

East and West Ship Island, Cat Island Mississippi Sound and the Gulf of Mexico Benthic Macroinfauna Community Assessment

This project was designed to perform biological surveys as required to characterize sediments and benthic macroinfauna assemblages present on tidal flats and beaches in Coastal Mississippi located on East and West Ship Island, Cat Island, and Horn Island as part of the restorative construction activities of the MsCIP Barrier Island Restoration Project requirements of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the fulfillment of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) terms and conditions of their Biological Opinion. Barry A. Vittor & Associates, Inc. carried out sediment and macroinfauna sampling as part of the monitoring required to satisfy the requirements of the FWS terms and conditions of their Biological Opinion associated with listed species Piping Plover (endangered and threatened populations; wintering populations on the Gulf of Mexico coast are listed as threatened) and Red Knot (threatened) foraging areas. This information was intended to support the Mississippi Coastal Improvements Program (MsCIP) barrier island restoration project. The objective of this study was to establish a pre-construction baseline of macroinfaunal assemblages in shorebird foraging areas where future project effects could be observed and compared to reference locations on Ship, Cat, and Horn Islands.

Relevant Tasks:

  • Biological surveys in beach/tidal flat habitats utilized by shorebirds

  • Sediment collection/analysis and benthic macroinfauna analysis

  • Incidental observations of habitat use by shorebirds including the Piping Plover and Red Knot

  • Development of a pre-construction baseline to support impact monitoring

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