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Introduction to emergent wetlands: Chapter A in Emergent wetlands status and trends in the northern Gulf of Mexico: 1950-2010

July 7, 2012

Throughout the past century, emergent wetlands have been declining across the Gulf of Mexico.
Emergent wetland ecosystems provide a plethora of resources including plant and wildlife habitat,
commercial and recreational economic activity, water quality improvement, and natural barriers against
storms. As emergent wetland losses increase, so does the need for information on the causes and effects of
these losses, for emergent wetland mapping, for monitoring and restoration efforts, and for increased
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of
Mexico Program Office (EPA GMPO) are committed to providing the best science to restore, enhance, and
protect these important ecosystems. The Emergent Wetlands Status and Trends Report is a continuation of
the completed Seagrass Status and Trends in the Northern Gulf of Mexico Report (Handley and others,
2007), both of which serve to update the EPA GMPO Status and Trends of Emergent and Submerged
Vegetated Habitats of Gulf of Mexico Coastal Waters, USA Report (Duke and Kruczynski, 1992). The
Emergent Wetlands Status and Trends Report is also part of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Ecosystems
Integration and Assessment Priority Issue Team’s work plan to provide resources that will aid in the
ecological and economic enhancement of the Gulf of Mexico region. The purpose of this report is to
provide scientists, managers, and citizens with valuable baseline information on the status and trends of
emergent wetlands along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The study upon which this report is based
examines the emergent wetlands of eight individual estuarine areas within the northern Gulf of Mexico
region and presents statewide summaries for Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. Each
estuarine area is detailed in vignettes that address current status and historical trends of estuarine and
palustrine emergent wetlands, emergent wetlands mapping and monitoring, causes of status change,
restoration and enhancement activities, background information for the study area, and the methodology
employed to analyze and document the historical trends and current status of emergent wetlands.
The eight individual estuarine areas examined in this report are:
 Corpus Christi/ Nueces/Aransas Bays, Tex.
 Galveston Bay, Tex.
 Barataria/Terrebonne Bay, La.
 Mississippi Delta, La.
 Mississippi Sound, Miss.
 Mobile Bay, Ala.
 Florida Panhandle, Fla.
 Tampa Bay, Fla.

Publication Year 2012
Title Introduction to emergent wetlands: Chapter A in Emergent wetlands status and trends in the northern Gulf of Mexico: 1950-2010
Authors Lawrence R. Handley, Kathryn A. Spear, René Baumstark, Ryan Moyer, Cindy A. Thatcher
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Other Government Series
Index ID 70198842
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Wetlands Research Center