A new publication from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab’s Marine Mammal Research Program (DISL) examines how bridge construction and underwater construction activities affect manatees and other large aquatic species.Recently published articles Wildlife Management Journal, Addresses the direct causes of injury and death and the long-term and cumulative consequences of manatees and their habitats.
Some issues related to construction activities include the potential for entanglement of barriers such as booms and silt screens, the loss of important habitats such as seaweed beds, and increased vessel activity near construction sites.
“Boat strikes are a major cause of manatee deaths, and the increased presence of boats and barges in construction areas puts manatees at greater risk in these areas,” said DISL’s lead author of the Manatees Witness Network. Elizabeth Hive, person and manager, said. “The increased noise at the construction site can also mask the sound of oncoming vessels, making it more difficult for manatees to avoid collisions,” Hieb added.
DISL’s new publication also reviews best practices for reducing the negative impact of construction on aquatic species. DISL researchers hope that their research can be used to better understand and reduce the range of risks associated with the launch of bridges, marina, boats, and other infrastructure. I will.
Manatees can be particularly vulnerable in coastal areas of the northern Gulf of Mexico, where little is known about their abundance and distribution. Data collected by DISL’s Manatees Witness Network since 2007 suggest that more manatees have been seasonally moving from Florida to Alabama and nearby waters in recent years. Construction projects planned at Mobile Bay, such as the expansion of the I-10 Bayway and the deepening and expansion of mobile bay vessel channels, will benefit from the data and other information gathered in this timely review.
“This is a problem not only in Alabama and the United States, but globally,” Hieb said. “As more and more people live in coastal areas where large species such as manatees, dolphins, turtles and fish live, manatees are a great way to understand how construction affects many different species. It is a model species. “
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