Using a Geographical Information System (GIS) to Model the Density and Population of Fishery Species

C. Steidley, R. Rawat, R. Bachnak, G. Jeffress, and A. Sadovski (USA)


Model Development, Physically-based Models,Environmental Modeling


Many salt marsh restoration and creation projects have been implemented in the Galveston Bay System during the past 20 years. Salt marshes have many valuable functions for the surrounding habitat and the animals living there. Some of these functions include physical functions such as protecting shorelines from erosion, stabilizing deposits of dredged material, dampening flood effects, trapping water-born sediments, and serving as nutrient reservoirs. Biological functions include acting as tertiary water treatment systems to rid coastal waters of contaminants, serving as nurseries for many juvenile fish and shellfish species, serving as habitat for various wildlife species, and providing plant material for the base of a detritus-based food web. Each year more marshes are being built, and yet very little information is available concerning the success of past restoration projects. In an effort to assist the Fishery Ecology Branch (FEB) of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Galveston Laboratory monitor created marshes and obtain information concerning their success [1]. A prototype project to map and monitor these marsh habitats was undertaken. Further, a prediction model of the density and population of different fishery species in Galveston Bay was developed.

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