Anadromous Species Survey and Water Quality Monitoring of the Gulf River Estuary, Spring and Summer 2013

Cohasset Center for Student Coastal Research (CSCR), Cohasset, MA

Christine Guinee, Ann M. Thomae, Ph.D, John C. Buckley, Jr.

ABSTRACT

Aim:

-To identify anadromous fish in the Gulf River estuary

-To conduct essential water quality monitoring using CSCR’s state-approved QAPP

Results: Few or no anadromous fish were counted at the old herring run fish ladder located at Hunters Pond at the freshwater upper reaches of the Gulf River. The site closest to the mouth of the river reveals the most diverse nekton. Species such as winter flounder, sea star, and hermit crab were documented exclusively at the mouth. Significant populations of Atlantic silverside fish and shrimp were found at all sites. Mud snails, green crabs and mummichugs were detected at the mouth and the other saline site, but generally not found at the more freshwater site. Interestingly, the four and nine spine stickleback fish were predominantly detected at the freshwater site. The saline sites show low, healthy levels of enterococci bacteria except following high rainfall events. However, bacteria levels are consistently above safe levels at Hunters Pond, the more freshwater location of the old herring run. Physical and chemical water quality data were within normal ranges. Conductivity, salinity and pH data are consistent with saline versus freshwater regions of the estuary. The more freshwater site has the lowest chl-a values.

Key Words: Gulf River Estuary, nekton, water quality

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