Habitat mapping and identifying suitable habitat of Redfish Rocks Pilot Marine Reserve, Port Orford, Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/g732dc68j

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  • Establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs) has been documented to effectively manage marine resource's diversity and enhance fisheries productivity. However, there must be a critical consideration of how these sites are selected and the actual description of the site itself. Its effectiveness is greatly dependent on understanding these habitats and the species that thrive in them. In 2008, the State of Oregon embarked on an effort to create a network of marine reserves within its territorial sea. Together with the active participation of the public sector in the selection process, it has to identify two (2) pilot sites and four (4) other sites that need further evaluation. During the selection process, thematic surficial geologic habitat (SGH) maps played a critical role in identifying potential sites. SGH was sufficient to identify specific sites, however a clearer and a habitat map with higher resolution is necessary in effectively managing these pilot marine reserves. Development of a more detailed habitat map will guide local and state managers in initiating specific management interventions to unique marine reserve sites such as Redfish Rock Pilot Marine Reserve. This aim of this study is to develop a detailed habitat map of the Redfish Rock Pilot Marine Reserve to supersede the initial SGH map, and utilize it to predict species occurrence within each habitat type. The use of acoustic information collected from multibeam echo sounder will be used to produce a high resolution habitat map of its marine environment. The backscatter data along with co-registered bathymetric information can be utilized to describe marine topography and define habitat based on its surficial geologic characteristic. Information derived from the bathymetry data utilized Benthic Terrain Modeler (BTM) as a guide in identifying seafloor features and classified zones like high relief and flat zones as well as derivative layers such as hillshade layer. Further delineation of habitat boundaries were made using the backscatter mosaic and angular response analysis (ARA) to classify layers created from the Interactive Visualization System (IVS3D) Fledermaus (FM) Geocoder. Manual digitizing of habitat polygon with automated classified layer as a guide was conducted using ArcGIS. Substrate classifications were verified from the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) videos collected by Oregon's Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). Species occurrences were predicted using the depth, latitude and substrate type and species information queried from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Habitat Use Database (HUD). A total of 89 species mostly ground fish were predicted to be present inside the marine reserve. With the habitat map created successfully from high resolution multibeam surveys, managers now have a more detailed picture of the seafloor. This is necessary to design specific management strategies such as development of biophysical monitoring protocol, deployment of marker buoy, conduct of specific species-habitat relationship research. This study was done specifically on the Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve primarily due to the fact that this site already has available data pertinent to the creation of this habitat map; however, this approach could also be applied and replicated at other identified MPA sites including other areas of the Redfish Rocks Pilot Marine Reserve, Otter Rocks Pilot Marine Reserve and the four other sites that are being considered for the creation of MPA networks.
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