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SHORT- AND LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF FORESTRY OPERATIONS ON
-MATER QUALITY AND THE BIOTA OF THE APALACHICOLA ESTUARY
(NORTH FLORIDA, U.S.A.)
Robert J. Livingston
Department of Biological Science
Florida State University
TECHNICAL PAPER NO. 5
Florida Sea Grant
~C ~ CL-rJ =
SHORT- AND LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF FORESTRY OPERATIONS ON
--MATER QUALITY AND THE BIOTA OF THE APALACHICOLA ESTUARY
(NORTH FLORIDA, U.S.A.)
Robert J. Livingston
Department of Biological Science
Florida State University
TECHNICAL PAPER NO. 5
The information contained in this paper was
developed under the auspices of the Florida Sea Grant
College Program, with support from the NOAA Office of
Sea Grant, U.S. Department of Commerce, grant number
04-8-M01-76. This document is a Technical Paper
of the State University System of Florida Sea Grant
College Program, 2001 McCarty Hall, University of
Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611. Technical Papers
are duplicated in limited quantities for specialized
audiences requiring rapid access to information,
which may be unedited.
Summary and Conclusions ill
I. Introduction 1
II. Materials and Methods 30
III. Physico-chemical Relationships 49
Robert J. Livingston
IV. Laboratory Bioassays: blue crab avoidance of storm-water runoff 176
Roger A. Laughlin
-Claude R. Cripe
Robert J. Livingston
V. Benthic Infauna 196
Robert J. Livingston
VI. Leaf-litter Assemblages 238
Robert J. Livingston
Peter F. Sheridan
VII. Grassbed (Vallisneria americana) Assemblages 249
Robert J. Livingston
VIII. Short-term Biotic Response to Physico-chemical Variation in East Bay 288
Robert J. Livingston
James L. Duncan
IX. Long-term Changes in Epibenthic Fishes and Invertebrates 356
Robert J. Livingston
F. Graham Lewis, III
Gerard G. Kobylinski
Summary of Results and Conclusions
An integrated (laboratory-field) study was carried out to determine
the short- and long-term effects of forestry operations (clearcutting,
ditching, roadbuilding, draining) in the Tate's Hell Swamp on the water
quality and biota of the Apalachicola estuary. There were indications
that various activities associated with site preparation caused increased
runoff and reduced water quality in receiving systems. Such effects
were noted in East Bay (East and West Bayous) during periods of high local
rainfall. The study included short- and long-term evaluations of grass-
bed assemblages, benthic infauna, litter-associated organisms, and
epibenthic fishes and invertebrates in East Bay. It also included
an analysis of key physico-chemical forcing functions (river flow,
rainfall) and the relationships of such factors with biotic trends in
the Apalachicola estuary over long periods (6-20 years).
Rainfall and Apalachicola River flow are important determinants of
bay functions and tend to follow 5-8 year cycles of peak activity.
During the period of intensive biological study (1972-1978), annual
river flow and local rainfall peaked during 1973-75. Important episodic
events during this time included extensive river flooding (winter, 1973),
peaks of local rainfall (summer, 1974 and 1975), and low water temperature
(winter, 1976-77). Salinity in upper portions of East Bay remained low
after 1974 despite decreases in river flow and rainfall during the last
3 years of study. There were general increases in daytime dissolved oxygen
-and nutrients (N, P) in East Bay relative to the outer system (Apalachicola
Bay). The eastern portions of East Bay were particularly affected by
-stonm water runoff from Tate's Hell Swamp during the winter and summer
months of 1974 and 1975; such runoff caused temporary water quality changes
which included increased color, reduced pH and salinity, and increased
turbidity. These changes were associated with heavy local rainfall and
forestry operations such as construction of roads and drainage ditches and
clearcutting in areas contiguous with the bay. Although such changes do
occur naturally, a comparison of various stations indicated that forestry
operations exacerbated the low quality conditions and contributed to
pulsed influxes of upland runoff through associated estuarine areas.
The exact changes in water quality depended on various factors such as
the timing, extent, and location of clearing operations, the sequence,
location and extent of local rainfall, various (local) drainage
characteristics, and revegetation processes in cleared areas. A compara-
tive analysis of long-term trends of pH in the upper portions of
East Bay (West Bayou) indicated sharp decreases of pH in bay areas
affected by upland runoff. These changes were corroborated by water
quality trends in former control areas of the bay. The relatively
short-term changes in water quality should be viewed from the perspec-
tive of long-term trends of local rainfall, and further work is necessary
to determine the long-term implications of forestry operations in Tate's
Hell Swamp on the Apalachicola Bay system, particularly with respect to
potential cultural eutrophication due to increased dissolved nutrients and
changes in salinity in upper portions of East Bay.
A laboratory-field effort was made to determine the avoidance
reaction of blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus), a dominant species in East
Bay, to highly colored, acidic runoff from cleared portions of the Tate's
Hell Swamp. Blue crabs of two age groups (Juvenile, adult) showed a
marked laboratory avoidance response to such runoff (pH 4.6, 5.8) and to
test water with induced reduction of pH. There was significant avoidance
(p< 0.001) of water with pH experimentally reduced to below 6.0;
generally, within a pH range of 4.5-7.0, there was an inverse relation-
ship between pH and avoidance while the color of the water appeared to
play only a minor role in the avoidance reaction. It was concluded that
pH was a primary determinant of the avoidance reaction of this species.
The field data, however, gave divergent results; small crabs reached peak
abundance in areas characterized by low pH (approximating 4.0 in East and
West Bayous). However, large crabs appeared to avoid areas of the bay
having low pH, thus indicating a potential avoidance reaction. Factors
other than pH were thought to determine the field distribution of this
species. These could include ontological variation in reactions to specific
inhibitors, intraspecific competition and predation, habitat-specific
reactions, and/or differential trophic response to runoff conditions.
Despite the apparent contradiction between the laboratory and field
results, avoidance of areas in the bay affected by storm water runoff
may well be an important mechanism in the response of estuarine biota
to such factors. Data concerning the blue crab indicate that laboratory
studies without the benefit of associated field observations may be
misleading when applied directly to impact analysis.
A comparative analysis of the benthic infauna was carried out to
determine potential response to storm water runoff in East Bay. Seasonal
peaks of infaunal biomass usually occurred during winter-early spring
months (stations IX, 2, 3, 4, 5A, 5B) and fall months (4A, 6). The
bay-wide infaunal biomass and numbers of individuals tended to undergo
a significant decline over the 3-year period of study; infaunal species
richness also declined with time. This could have been related to
changes in energy relationships associated with declining river flows
during this period. Areas associated with grassbeds, marshes, or direct
river flow (stations 1X, 5A, 3) were most productive in terms of
infaunal biomass. Generally, areas in upper East Bay were characterized
by low infaunal productivity; in areas such as West Bayou, relative
dominance was highest and biomass lowest during summer-fall periods of high
local rainfall, reduced salinity, dissolved oxygen, and pH, and high
temperature. Numbers of individuals, biomass, relative dominance, species
richness and species diversity of benthic infauna reflected short-term
changes in water quality that were directly related to upland forestry
activities and the incidence of intense local rainfall. These changes
were temporary, and there was a relatively rapid recovery of the infaunal
assemblages with time. Again, short-term fluctuations should be viewed
within the context of the long-term variation of the principal physico-
chemical forcing functions, trends in the overall productivity of the bay
system, and the reaction of the infauna to stress which is natural to upland
portions of the bay.
An experiment was carried out in East Bay in 1974 to determine short-
term changes in assemblages of organisms associated with leaf-litter as a
response to alterations of water quality. Stations influenced by runoff
from local rainfall (5A) were compared to river-dominated (3) and barrier
island (1X) areas. Salinity and temperature were primary determinants
of the spatial and temporal distribution of the litter-associated fauna,
which was dominated by various forms of small crustaceans (amphipods,
decapods, etc.). Increased salinity was closely associated with increases
in most of the biological indices. The lowest numbers of such organisms
occurred during the late summer of 1974 at station 5A and was attributed
to stress due to low water quality associated with heavy local rainfall.
In this area, there were decreases in species numbers, Margalef richness,
and species diversity. Recovery of the biota was relatively rapid with
increases in all biological parameters during the following fall period.
Grassbeds (dominated by Vallisneria americana) in upper East Bay
(station 4B), receiving runoff from areas affected by forestry activities,
were also studied from November, 1975 through October, 1976. Temperature
was the principal limiting factor for Vallisneria production and productivity
of grassbeds.affected by upland runoff-did not appear to differ from that
in control areas. Invertebrate biomass and abundance in Vallisneria beds
were dominated by the gastropod mollusk Neritina reclivata and various
community indices were affected by such dominance. Peak animal biomass in
such areas occurred during spring (March-May) and late fall (November-
December), and was associated with seasonal changes in Vallisneria growth
and death. However, increased runoff caused short-term reductions in
the grassbed fauna in West Bayou relative to Round Bay. There were indica-
tions that the benthic macrophytes buffered rapid changes in water quality
parameters such as pH, and that this could have been responsible for the
observation of little'adverse impact of storm water runoff on the grassbed
assemblages of East Bay.
An intensive sampling program was carried out to analyze the short-
term responses of epibenthic fishes and invertebrates to episodic influxes
of storm water runoff in upper East Bay during summer-fall periods of
1976 and 1977. Rapid changes in salinity and reduced water quality
(low pH and dissolved oxygen, high color) led to immediate, short-term
decreases of numbers of dominant fishes and invertebrates. This should
be viewed within the context of seasonal and annual fluctuations of indivi-
dual populations, changes in various external forcing functions that are
unrelated to the storm water runoff, and the relatively low level of
local rainfall during the 1976-77 period of study. However, short-term
decreases in fish and invertebrate species richness and diversity indices
were directly associated with patterns of episodic rainfall and known
changes in upland areas affected by forestry operations. Such episodic
influxes.of low-quality runoff reduced the numbers and biomass of key
nurserying species such as white shrimp (Penaeus setiferus) although
species-specific reaction to runoff (e.g., of C. sapidus, as noted above)
precluded broad generalizations. Various changes in population and
community functions were reviewed within the context of seasonal varia-
bility and the influence of key physico-chemical factors such as
temperature, salinity, river flow, local rainfall, sediment or substrate
type, and upland conditions. Maximal adverse impact of storm water runoff
on the habitat of nurserying populations occurred during periods of peak
The overall impact analysis was viewed in the context of long-term
biotic trends in the Apalachicola Bay system. Since 1975, there has been a
general decrease of various biological functions of epibenthic assemblages.
This could be associated with annual fluctuations and long-term cycles of
river flow and organic matter in the bay system. Productivity peaks for
fishes and invertebrates occurred during 1974-75. This included various
community indices and individual populations of penaeid shrimp and blue
crabs. Close correlations of long-term commercial catches in Franklin
County (oysters, blue crabs, penaeid shrimp) with annual levels of
Apalachicola River flow corroborated the importance of river flow to
overall bay productivity. Six-year trends of fish and invertebrate
community indices in eastern portions of East Bay differed from those in
other portions of the estuarine system or the system as a whole. Areas
receiving drainage from the Tate's Hell Swamp did not show peaks during
the 1974-75 period of generally high bay-wide productivity. Such changes
in the long-term biotic trends were related to episodic shocks of low
quality runoff from Tate's Hell Swamp during this period.
The data indicate that forestry operations in wetlands systems can
cause severe short-term declines in water quality which can then have
adverse effects on the aquatic biota in receiving areas. In upper portions
of East Bay, this is actually an exacerbation of natural stress caused by
rapid changes in key physico-chemical functions. While such effects appear
to be short-term, depending on patterns and intensity of local rainfall,
the impact occurs during seasons and years of peak estuarine productivity.
Also, certain long-term trends that may affect the salinity and eutrophication
potential remain poorly defined and deserve further attention. Revegetation
appears to be an important factor in the temporal aspects of impact,
and permanently cleared areas could contribute to chronic reductions of
bay productivity through periodic habitat destruction and impairment
due to influxes of low quality runoff water. Management objectives should
include efforts to minimize the flashiness of runoff associated with
upland development and to eliminate situations whereby such water (of
natural or anthropogenic origin) is flushed directly into areas of high
Theses Associated with Sea Grant Project
Duncan, James L. 1977. Short-term effects of storm water runoff on the
epibenthic community of a north Florida estuary (Apalachicola, Florida).
M. S. Thesis, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida.
Laughlin, Roger A. 1976. Field and laboratory avoidance reactions of
of blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) to storm water runoff. M. S.
Thesis, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida.
Purcell, Bruce Howard. 1977. The ecology of the epibenthic fauna
associated with Vallisneria americana beds in a north Florida
estuary. M. S. Thesis, Florida State University, Tallahassee,
Publications Associated with the Apalachicola System
A seawater system designed for controlled experiments on the chronic
effects of pesticides on marine organisms. R. J. Livingston, C. R.
Cripe, C. C. Koenig, A. J. Tolman, and B. D. DeGrove. Sea Grant
Publication, report #5, 1974.
Major features of the Apalachicola Bay System: Physiography, Biota, and
Resource Management. Robert J. Livingston, Richard L. Iverson, Robert
H. Estabrook, Vernon E. Keys, John Taylor, Jr. Florida Scientist 37
(4), 245-271, 1974.
Resource management and estuarine function with application to the
Apalachicola drainage system (North Florida, U.S.A.)., Robert J.
Livingston. Office of Water and Hazardous Materials, U. S.
Environmental Protection Agency: included in final collection of
papers (reviewed and published for submission to the Congress of the
United States) Estuarine Pollution Control and Assessment, Vol. 1,
Translocation of mirex from sediments and its accumulation by the hog-
choker, Trinectes maculatus. Gerard J. Kobylinski and Robert J.
Livingston. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
14(6): 692-698. 1975.
Diurnal and seasonal fluctuations of estuarine organisms in a North
Florida estuary: sampling strategy, community structure, and species
diversity. R. J. Livingston. Estuarine and Coastal Marine Science
4: 373-400. 1976.
Blue crab mortality: Interaction of temperature and DDT residues.
Christopher C. Koenig, Robert J. Livingston, Claude R. Cripe.
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 4(1):
The embryological development of the diamond killifish (Adinia xenica).
Christopher C. Koenig and Robert J. Livingston. Copeia (l976) 3:
Avoidance responses of estuarine organisms to storm water'runoff and pulp
mill effluents. R. J. Livingston, invited paper, Proceedings of the
Third International Estuarine Research Federation Conference,
Galveston, Texas. October, 1975. Estuarine Processes I. 303-331.
:. Time as a factor in environmental sampling programs: diurnal and seasonal
S fluctuations of estuarine and coastal populations and communities. R.
J. Livingston. Invited paper. Symposium on the Biological Monitoring
of Water Ecosystems (Ed. J. Cairns, Jr.) 1976. ASTM STP 607:212-234.
Analysis of long-term fluctuations of estuarine fish and invertebrate
populations in Apalachicola Bay. R. J. Livingston, G. Kobylinski,
F. G. Lewis, and P. Sheridan. Fish. Bull. 74(2): 311-321. 1976.
Environmental Considerations and the Management of Barrier Islands:
St. George Island and the Apalachicola Bay System. R. J. Livingston.
Invited paper, in, Barrier Islands and Beaches. The Conservation
Foundation. Cont. #7, 86-102. 1976.
The Biota of the Apalachicola Bay System: Functional Relationships. Robert
J. Livingston et al. In, Proceedings of the Conference on the
Apalachicola Drainage System. Florida Marine Research Publications, Fla.
D.N.R. Eds., R. J. Livingston and E. A. Joyce, Jr. Cont. #26,
Proceedings of the Conference on the Apalachicola Drainage System. Florida
Mar. Res. Publ., Eds. R. J. Livingston and E. A. Joyce, Jr. Cont.
#26, 177 pp. 1977.
Dynamics of the pesticide mirex and its photoproducts in a simulated marsh
system. Claude R. Cripe and Robert J. Livingston. Archives of Environ-
mental Contamination and Toxicology 5, 295-303. 1977.
Long-term variation of organochlorine residues and assemblages of epibenthic
organisms in a shallow north Florida (U.S.A.) estuary. R. J. Livingston
et al. Marine Biology (in press). 1978.
Field and laboratory avoidance reactions by blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus)
to storm-water runoff. R. J. Livingston (with R. A. Laughlin.and
C. R. Cripe). Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. (in press). 1978.
The Apalachicola dilemma: wetlands development and management initiatives.
R. J. Livingston. Invited paper, National Wetland Protection Symposium;
Environmental Law Institute and the Fish and Wildlife Service, U. S.
Department of the Interior (in press). 1978.
Statistical methods applied to a four-year multivariate study of a
Florida estuary. R. J. Livingston (with D. A. Meeter). Invited
paper, Symposium on "Quantitative and Statistical Analyses of
Biological Data for the Assessment of Water and Wastewater Quality."
American Society for Testing and Materials (in press). 1978.
Multiple factor interactions and stress in coastal systems. R. J.
Livingston. In, Pollution and Physiology of Marine Organisms.
Academic Press (In press).
There is little published information on the effects of upland
clearcutting operations on estuarine biota. Watershed alterations due to
timber operations have been noted in various areas (Tebo, 1955; Hewlett
and Hibbert, 1961; Swank and Douglass, 1974). The long-term studies in
the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (New Hampshire) have led to a series
of papers concerning geology and hydrography (Likens et al., 1967; Johnson
et al., 1968, 1969; Hornbeck et al., 1970), nutrient relationships (Fisher
et al., 1968; Bormann et al., 1969; Likens et al., 1967, 1972; Hobbie and
Likens, 1973), and various effects of forest cutting (Bormann et al., 1968;
Likens et al., 1969, 1970; Smith et al., 1968; Pierce et al., 1970;
Hornbeck et al., 1970). Clearing operations were associated with significant
changes in the quantity and quality of runoff water. During the first
2 years after clearcutting, such flow exceeded the expected by 33% the first
year, and 29% the second. There were also substantial increases in stream
water of various major ions and nutrients. The weighted average pH
dropped by 0.8 units subsequent to clearcutting.
Various studies have determined the highly complex contributing factors
to rainfall-runoff relationships. Following a rainstorm, there is surface
drainage and lateral movement of percolating water in soil (Barns, 1940),
with relative flow rates that depend largely on watershed characteristics.
Forest cover tends to control such flow and is responsible for lateral
movement through interception, infiltration (basin recharge) and
evapotranspiration (Sokolovskii, 1968); this process is modified by antecedent
soil water capacity as a function of the intensity and distribution of
previous rainfall. Lull and Reinhart (1972) showed that the porosity of
litter and humus usually causes high infiltration.rates in a forested
system, which is also a factor in reduced water yield due to high evapo-
transpiration (Ziemer, 1964; Harr et al., 1975). Clearcutting thus causes
increased runoff (Hewlett and Helvey, 1970; Lull and Reinhart, 1972)
because of insufficient storage ability of the affected soils (Lull and
Reinhart, 1972; Hornbeck, 1973). Roadbuilding and associated ditching
also contribute to increased runoff and erosion of the cleared areas
because of increases in compacted (i.e. less permeable) area and channeli-
zation of the flow. Often, the drainage area itself is expanded relative
to immediate flow into receiving systems. Thus, past studies indicate that
deforestation leads to increased runoff due to.the reduced capacity of the
system to intercept the flow. In addition, there are changes in rates of
evapotranspiration and an inhibited infiltration ability of the resident
soils (Patric and Reinhart, 1971); these changes can cause increased water
yields of up to 40 cm of water in clearcut areas (Heikurainen, 1965;
Satterlund, 1965). However, downstream areas may show reduced effects
because of channel storage and lag (Helvey, 1970). System-specific
variability would qualify generalization from one area or
region to another.
Water quality is often altered by deforestation. There is sometimes
increased erosion leading to high levels of suspended solids in runoff
(Packer, 1965; Dickenson et al., 1967; Lull and Reinhart, 1972), which can
cause direct injury to aquatic life (Phillips, 1971) and/or indirect effects
such as spawning inhibition (Phillips, 1971) and reduced primary produc-
tivity. Benthic biota can be inhibited.and, in addition to increased
nutrients, there can be reduced levels of dissolved oxygen in receiving
areas. These changes, in addition to low pH, can cause problems with
respect to benthic and column productivity. Marine organisms are generally
not exposed to reduced pH, although fresh and brackish water organisms
may be periodically affected by low pH under natural conditions. The
lethal limit for fishes may approximate 5.0 (Bishai, 1960; Jones, 1964).
According to the European Inland Fisheries Advisory Commission (1969),
pH levels below 5.0 can cause considerable reductions in the productivity
of aquatic systems. Juvenile populations can be highly sensitive to low
pH (Lloyd and Jordan, 1964; Kwain, 1975), which can cause variation in
reproduction effectiveness, population structure, and fish distribution
(Powers, 1941; Collins, 1952). According to Calabrese and Davis (1967),
oyster (Crassostrea virginica) eggs require a pH range of 6.75 to 8.75.
Since pH is only one of the parameters affected by upland runoff (in
addition to color, turbidity, salinity, etc.), such laboratory observations
concerning pH remain oversimplified with respect to the impact of upland
runoff on estuarine systems. Although such episodic changes in estuaries
have been considered as a source of stress, the exact impact of runoff on
estuarine systems attributable to upland clearcutting activities remains
undocumented in the scientific literature.
During.the winter and early spring of 1974, there were visible changes
in water quality in East Bay with considerable increases in the water color.
There were reports from commercial fishermen that extensive areas of
Tate's Hell Swamp (Fig. 1) had been clearcut, plowed, ditched, and drained
into several creeks (Whiskey George, Cash, Sandbank, High Bluff) that lead
directly into East Bay. Subsequent investigation indicated that much of
the upland area is owned by pulp interests (Fig. 2), and that thousands
of acres of the swamp had been clearcut since 1968; from 1970-74, much
of the cleared land was above and immediately adjacent to East Bay
(Fig. 3). The clearcut lands were largely drained by'canals which
emptied directly into the above named creeks. A general view of the
areas involved is shown in Fig. 4, while various portions of the clearcut
areas are shown in Figs. 5-8. In addition, such areas were routinely
fertilized (phosphate-base) during the winter.
Together with personnel from a local paper-pulp mill, a field
trip was made in the Tate's Hell Swamp. Water samples were taken in various
drainage areas (Fig. 9, Table 1). At the time (summer of 1974), exten-
sive rainfall occurred locally and was evident in the runoff from the
upland areas. Turbidity was relatively low while color levels varied
with location. Although too few data were taken for a definitive study
of the upland drainage features, certain trends were evident. The lowest
color values were found in areas adjacent to recently cutover forests;
several of these ditches drained directly into East Bay. Often, such
fields were littered with wood particles. Observations made during
.rainstorms confirmed that extensive quantities of highly colored water
washed off the cutover fields and directly entered the various creeks
in the East Bay drainage system. These observations indicated that newly
cleared and ditched areas were subject to substantial runoff and that
the color of such runoff was higher than that from adjacent natural swamps.
Local reductions in pH were also evident.
According to a recent study of the effects of forest management on
Apalachicola Bay (Hydroscience, Inc., 1977), the following findings and
conclusions were made:
1. Ditching does not drastically affect the quantity of runoff.
There is 15% increase in direct runoff during the first year
after clearcutting (2.8 inches compared to a range of liter-
ature values from 1.3 to 17.7 inches).
2. Clearcutting and site preparation cause increases in nitrogen,
color, pH, and suspended solids and decreases in dissolved
oxygen. Beyond month ten (after clearing), impact on most
water quality variables is minor although total nitrogen
and dissolved oxygen are affected for at least 22 months.
3. Watershed characteristics were changed by road construction
and drainage ditches with major impact in the Cash Bayou
drainage basin in terms of increased drainage area and
extensive clearcutting from 1970-1974. It was here that
the water yield increased the most (estimated 60% greater
than natural yield).
4. Short-term (several weeks) water quality effects were noted
following fertilization or clearcutting with maximum
color impacts noted for Cash (station.5C) and West (station
5B) Bayou basins as a result of clearcutting. Such impacts
were sustained for 10 weeks following clearcutting while
impacts on nitrogen and phosphorus were sustained for 15
weeks following clearcutting.
5. Overall, water quality impact due to forestry management
was confined to Cash and West Bayous as concerned salinity,
color, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus. Cash Bayou
salinity decreased by less than 10% while color increased
by 20%. Such increases were considered small compared to
the natural range of these variables in the bay.
6. .Salinity impacts on penaeid shrimp were insignificant.
Clearcutting did cause increased levels of suspended solids
and decreased dissolved oxygen which was most evident during
periods of high runoff. Clearcutting had no effect on pH
levels in the bay.
7. The bayou areas are nursery grounds for a number of fish
and invertebrate species. There were no significant
differences in the species composition and abundance of
Cash and West Bayou when compared to other parts of East
Bay. Although such bayous had a distinctive species com-
position, it was not clear how changes in water quality due
to forest management may have affected the biota. The
biological sampling program did not reveal a dramatic impact
attributable to local runoff although a more extensive data
base is needed before any definitive statement could be
made regarding biological impact.
8. Runoff from recently clearcut areas inhibited the feeding
response of pinfish (Lagodon rhomboides) and grass shrimp
(Palaemonetes pugio). Such inhibition occurred for
pH levels below 5 and was diminished considerably after
aging 2 to 5 days. Runoff from an undisturbed forest area
caused greater inhibition of the feeding response of grass
shrimp than runoff from clearcut areas. Thus, it appears
that forest management is not responsible for this inhibition.
9. "Overall, present management practices do influence the
quantity and quality of runoff from the Carrabelle area.
However, the water quality of Apalachicola Bay is confined
to Cash and West Bayous. The subsequent impact on the
aquatic biota of this area cannot be distinguished with
the available data base."
An integrated laboratory-field study was carried out to determine
the potential short- and long-term impact of forestry operations in Tate's
Hell Swamp on the biota of the Apalachicola Estuary, including a series of
laboratory experiments (avoidance bioassays). Six years of field collections
were completed, in addition to special projects designed to test
hypotheses concerning the influence of land runoff from Tate's Hell
Swamp on the East Bay system. This included an analysis of grassbed
(Vallisneria americana) assemblages, benthic infauna, litter-associated
organisms, juvenile (epibenthic) fishes and invertebrates, and larger
fishes. Short-term (day-months) and long-term (years) trends have now
been analyzed and are presented in this report. As part of this program
an area of the Tate's Hell Swamp was monitored for water quality before,
during, and after a clearcutting operation. This clearcutting experiment
was carried out with the help of local forestry interests.
Barns, B. S. 1940. Discussion of analysis of runoff characteristics.
Trans. Amer. Soc. Civil Engineers, 104-106.
Bishai, H. M. 1960. The effects of hydrogen ion concentration on the
survival and distribution of larval and young fish. Z. Wis. Zool.
Bormann, F. H. et al. 1968.
of a forest ecosystem.
Nutrient loss accelerated by clearcutting
Science 159, 882-884.
Bormann, F. H. et al. 1969. Biotic regulation of particulate and
solution losses from a forest ecosystem. BioScience 19, 600-610.
Calabrese, A. and H. C. Davis. 1967. The pH tolerance of embryos and
larvae of Mercenaria mercenaria and Crassostrea virginica. Biol.
Bull. 131, 427-436.
Collins, G. B. 1952. The lethal action of soluble metallic salts on
fishes. Brit. J. Exp. Biol. 4, 378-390.
Dickinson, W. T. et al. 1967.
Colorado State University.
An experimental rainfall-runoff facility.
Hydrology paper 25.
E. I. F. A. C. 1969. Water quality criteria for European freshwater,
fish extreme pH values and inland fisheries. Wat. Res. 3, 593-611.
Fisher, D. W. et al. 1968. Atmospheric contributions to water quality
of streams in the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, New Hampshire.
Water Resour. Res. 4, 1115-1126.
Harr, R. D. et al: 1975. Changes in storm hydrographs after road
building and clearcutting in the Oregon coast range. Water Resour.
Res. 11, 436-444.
Heikurainen, L. 1965. Effect of cutting on the ground-water level on
drained peatlands. Int. Symp. on Forest Hydrology. Sopper and
Lull (eds), 345-354.
Hewlett. J. F. and J. D. Helvey. 1970. Effects of
on the storm hydrograph. Wat. Resour. Res. 6,
Hewlett, J. F. and
A. R. Hibbert. 1961. Increases
of forest cutting. Quart. Bull.
Louvain, Belgium, 5-17.
in water yield after
Hobbie, J. E. and G. E. Likens. 1973. The output of phosphorus, dissolved
organic carbon, and fine particulate carbon from Hubbard Brook
Watershed. Limnol. Oceanogr.
Hornbeck, J. W. 1973. Storm flow from hardwood forested and cleared
watersheds in New Hampshire. Water Resour. Res. 9, 346-354.
Hornbeck, J. W. et al. 1970. Streamflow changes after forest clearing
in New England. Water Resour. Res. 6, 1124-1132.
Hydroscience, Inc. 1977. The effects of forest management on the
water quality and aquatic biota of Apalachicola Bay, Florida.
Report for the Buckeye Cellulose Corporation, Perry, Florida.
Johnson, N. M. et al. 1968. Rate of chemical weathering of silicate
mineral in New Hampshire. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 32, 531-545.
Johnson, N. M. et al. 1959. A working model for the variation in
streamwater chemistry at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest.
Water Resour. Res. 5, 1353-1363.
Jones, E. 1964. Acids and alkalies: pH tolerance limits. In.
Fish and River Pollution. Butterworth and Co., London. 203 pp.
Kwain, W. 1975. Effects of temperature on development and survival
of rainbow trout, Salmo gairdneri, in acid waters. J. Fish.
Res. Bd. Canada 32, 493-497.
Likens, G. E. et al. 1967. The calcium, magnesium, potassium, and
sodium budgets in a small forested ecosystem. Ecology 48, 772-785.
1969. Nitrification: importance to nutrient losses from
a cutover forest watershed. Science 163, 1205-1206.
S 1970. Effects of forest cutting and herbicide treatment
on nutrient budgets in the Hubbard Brook Watershed Ecosystem.
Ecol. Monogr. 40, 23-47.
1972. Acid rain. Environment 14, 33-40.
Lloyd, R. and D. H. M. Jordan. 1964. Some factors affecting the
resistance of rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri Richardson) to
acid waters. Int. J. Air and Water Poll. 8, 393-403.
Lull, H. W. and K. G. Reinhart. 1972. Forests and floods in the Eastern
United States. Northeast Forestry Exp. Sta. Res. Paper NE-226.
Packer, P. E. 1965. Forest treatment effects on water quality. Intl.
Symposium on Forest Hydrol. Sopper and Lull (eds), 687-698.
Patric, J. H. and K. G. Reinhart. 1971. Hydrologic effects of deforesting
two mountain watersheds in West Virginia. Water Resour. Res. 7,
Phillips, R. W. 1971. Effects of sediment on the gravel environment and
fish production. In: Forest land uses and stream environment.
Krygler and Hall (eds), 64-74.
Pierce, R. S. et al. 1970. Effects of elimination of vegetation on
stream water quantity and quality. pp. 311-328. Int. Assoc. Sci.
Hydrol., New Zealand, Proc. Symposium on the Results of.Research
on Representative and Experimental Basins.
Powers, E. B. 1941. The variation of the condition of sea water es-
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organisms. Publ. Puget Sd. Mar. Sta. 2, 369-385.
Satterlund, D. R. 1965.
Symp. For. Hydrol.
Smith, W. H. et al.
Sokolovskii, D. L.
Forest types and potential runoff.
Sopper and Hull (eds), 497-503.
Response of chemoautotrophic nitrifiers to
Sci. 106, 471-473.
1968. River runoff. Gid. Izdat., Leningrad.
For scientific translations, Jerusalem. (1971).
Swank, W. T. and J. E. Douglass. 1974. Stream-flow greatly reduced by
converting deciduous hardwood stands to pine. Science 185, 857-
Tebo, L. D. 1955. Effects of siltation, resulting from improper logging,
on the infauna of a small trout stream in the southern Appalachians.
Prog. Fish-Cult. 12, 64-70.
Ziemer, R. R. 1964. Summer evapotranspiration trends as related to
time after logging of forests in Sierra Nevada. J. Geophys. Res.
Physico-chemical monitoring in upper portions of Tate's Hell Swamp drainage
leading to East Bay (30 July, 1974). Stations are shown in photographs (Fig. 9).
Station (Station Description) Temp. D.O. Color Turbidity Salinity
5H Natural swamp area --
5F Drainage from 6 year
5J Drainage from area cut
3 years ago and planted
3 years ago
5G Cut 1 year ago and
planted 6 months ago
5K Cleared and ditched
30 days ago
5L Ditch running into Cash
Creek -- drains recently
cleared and plowed lands
5M Ditch running into Cash
Creek -- drains recently
cleared and plowed lands
31 5.8 280
32 7.2 155
32 5.2 325
32 6.4 1260
32 5.0 350
31 5.2 600
31 5.6 310
Fig. 1: The Apalachicola Bay System showing oyster bars, marshes, and
station placement for field collections in the bay and upland
areas. Also shown is the experimental clearcutting area in
the Tate's Hell Swamp.
gulf of mexico
0 3 6
---- intra. waterway
Fig. 2: Map showing the extent of
paper-pulp interests in the Tate's
Fig. 3: A rough approximation of clear-cut areas in the Tate's Hell Swamp
in chronological order (1969 1976). Map and information are
supplied by a local paper-pulp mill (Walter L. Beers, Jr.,
, l \. \ "r '
p] 1976 903,
S1974 -i 902
S' '1972 4* 901
1971 9 .
!91 5 2 [ 9
l o g ..
--- -" 'ia : : f- ,,...,I'
S. ..i F 9-
.I .. ..
rs i (iiilii ~ ~ ~~~87 8
r ^/v .
Fig. 4: LANDSAT photograph of the Apalachicola Valley (April, 1976)
showing extent of cleared areas in the Tate's Hell Swamp
(photo supplied by the National Aeronautics and Space
-IUS5-3BI IUMU-UI HWS-3ST 5
i-31 -v.*1 .L^. l r-* *
-** .. .,,'* ; w *
,* .*: ';' -.i t ., ' -v "" . < '-*\" .' '* ."- " '.
.* .. "- '. '.-* T .. -;".. 4 : $- "t '. r. ,., .1
y\ .* ".*" *, .- . .. ,, ^ . ,i. * ". :, .* .. ... 1
- ., ,^ f -* ^ .. .^ .o / .. ^ .-
*'- NI tjt (
*'' . ^- ' ".* -" ... .. / -^ r" '" ** -*. . -. '*^ ;-- .' ;. "-- .
--7.. .; ^.- A .. -. .
.o -,. *^ .,.- ... .. .* f.
r t "* "-$ "',- . '*> *. .*) .. q *
. ', :, *. w . I
. ,. 2; -~ t JQ '
-'4. ~^ .r? ,. -
' .' .' '. : ,*- "^; -' .- '' . Y ? : 7 -* --*. .- ^ ' ., /
| .. . -,. ^ : -. .. ... .., ., * *., .
^ '*^* A 't. .:* ; *.*^ /^* ^*. ^- i~~- I^ .'^
,.1 .-. .. / *4 I
.. .4V *.. .. .. .
\^ ~^... e .. , ". ..; *; :. ,** -. 5 -^ ^^ w .. .*v
."4 *"- .r t "
,s *-'. ",. : -" ''." -; : l-. :* .* .* ,
',,,"". '. "'' ,I "' ^ K ",. .^ "' .^ ^ "- "
"*,, |,. *; i '". : -,,., .' ^ r *. .. .
"r .." .. 4. > ..." .11
'tic", -,S-. 1.- S.3l
ueee -e 5 4a. *
1J ,.. 4- ,'
1.. btJ..(..-I. *-...f... '&. *444
i;, r ; .-.-,.: , ,,? ,,, +
;--I '~2 2;.
r .c ?. "
4Y-4c 4t-. -- .. ..."
4IN rU I *-; I
.24 R? C N U ~ ~ -I N N 8-2 4E 59 lS ? d rl 4 L 5 Z I I 9 38 N N t N S E
9~'~'iC I;-f .. I
~;, i.. : ~ I
,: rrM :- ,~jfI
Fig. 5: Clearcut portion of Tate's Hell Swamp with East (Cash) and
West Bayous and Round Bay in the background.
Fig. 6: Ditches draining clear-cut area in Tate's Hell Swamp into
upper reaches of the West Bayou System.
Fig. 7: Close-up of drainage into the West Bayou System.
Fig. 8: Close-up of drainage into West Bayou showing the "plug"
between the drainage ditch and the Bayou and the actual
connection (to the right) which leads directly into the
natural system from upland clear-cut areas.
Fig. 9: Photographs corresponding to water quality stations (Table 1:
5F-5M) in Tate's Hell Swamp (30 July, 1974). This includes
natural swamp (5H), newly cleared (5K) and ditched (5L, 5M)
areas, recently planted areas (5G), and 3-year (5J) and 6-year
6 YEARS AFTER
6 MONTHS AFTER 3 YEARS AFTER
PLOWED NEWLY CLEARED
II. Materials and Methods
Permanent stations (Fig. 1, Introduction) were established in
several ways. The original station determinations were based on diving
surveys and analysis of previous studies. There was an effort to
sample representative habitats in the bay. Additional stations were
added as new studies were undertaken to answer other questions or test
Sediment samples were taken with a corer (d. 7.62 cm) monthly
from March, 1975 through February, 1976. This sampling was carried out
at fixed stations around the bay. Analyses were conducted on the top
5-10 cm of each core.
Two established methods were used, including a standard geological
analysis which eliminates biological functions. At monthly intervals,
a sample of 50-150 g was wet-sieved through a series of U. S. Standard
sieves. Each fraction was dried at 100PC for 24 hours and weighed.
Sieve-class weights were then used to construct cumulative percent
particle size curves (Inman, 1952) on arithmetic probability paper.
A second analysis involved a supplementary subset of the above samples
(Ingram, 1971). A 30-50 g sample was dried at 100C for 24 hours and
then treated with 10% HC1 for 12 hours to remove carbonates. After
redrying of the sample, organic matter was removed by treatment with
30% H202for 12 hours. The sample was then dried, and dry-sieved through
a series of sieves on a mechanical shaker for 30 minutes. Sieve class
weights were analyzed by the method of moments (Folk, 1966) using a
computer program developed by J. P. May (Dept. of Geology, Florida State
University). Sediment organic matter was analyzed monthly by drying a
subsample at 1000C for 24 hours and ashing at 5000C for 4 hours
(Cummings and Waycheck, 1971).
Surface and bottom water samples were taken monthly at fixed stations
in the Apalachicola Estuary (Fig. 1) with a 1-liter Kemmerer.bottle.
Dissolved oxygen and temperature were measured with a Y. S. I. dissolved
oxygen meter and a stick thermometer. Salinity was taken with a tem-
perature-compensated refractometer calibrated periodically with standard
sea water. All pH measurements were made using several field metering
devices. River flow data taken at Blountstown, Florida were provided by
the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (Mobile, Alabama). Computerized
summaries of the river data were provided by Mr. Roger Ruminick of the
U. S. Geological Survey (Tallahassee, Florida). Local rainfall,
wind, and air temperature data were provided by the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (Environmental Data Service, Apalachicola,
Florida). East Bay rainfall information was provided by the East Bay
forestry tower. Turbidity was determined using a Hach Model 2100-A
turbidimeter and was expressed as Jackson Turbidity Units (J.T.U.).
Water color was measured using an A.P.H.A. platinum-cobalt standard test.
Light penetration was estimated with a standard Secchi disk. Data con-
cerning chlorophyll a, orthophosphate (inorganic, soluble, reactive),
nitrite, nitrate, and silicate were provided through a Florida Sea Grant
Program directed by Dr. Richard L. Iverson (Department of Oceanography,
Florida State University); these parameters were measured according to
standard procedures (Livingston et al., 1974).
Chronic laboratory (avoidance) bioassays
Laboratory avoidance experiments were conducted in a Y-maze avoidance
trough from January to September 1975. The trough tests the reactions
of animals to steep gradients of water quality parameters. The apparatus
was housed in a sound-proof plywood room with two 1.2 m (4 ft.) 40 watt
fluorescent bulbs installed 1.3 m (4.2 ft.) above the Y-maze. A
television camera and monitor were used to observe and record crab
movements in the trough.
Control (normal) water for the avoidance experiments was taken from
station 3, located at the southernmost limit of East Bay, a part of the
Apalachicola Bay System (north Florida, USA) (Fig. 1). The primary
source of this water was the Apalachicola River, which is considered
to have a major influence on the environmental conditions of Apalachicola
Bay (Livingston et al., 1974). The experimental "dark" runoff was taken
from Sand Bank Creek (near 5C, Fig. 1) which drains.adjacent clearcut
areas and empties directly into the upper margins of East Bay. Water
from both areas was placed in permanent 3600 liter plywood storage tanks
where it was recycled through dacron filters. All water was stored for
at least 24 hours before being pumped to a delivery system adjacent to
the test'room (Fig. 2).
All experiments were carried out during the day (0900-1800 H) under
controlled conditions of temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, and light
intensity. Water quality parameters were determined using a mercury
thermometer, a temperature-compensated refractometer, a colorimeter
(APHA-Platinum-Cobalt Standard test; APHA, 1971), a model 2100 A
turbidimeter, an oxygen meter, and a portable pH meter.
Small (20-60 mm wide) and large (60-140 mm) blue crabs, Callinectes
sapidus Rathbun, were tested for avoidance. Crabs were taken with a 5 m
(16 ft.) otter trawl from station 4A in East Bay (Fig. 1). Crabs were
transported to the Marine Laboratory at Turkey Point (about 50 km east
of collecting site), placed in aerated aquaria with undergravel oyster
filtration, and acclimated for 6 to 12 hours prior to testing.
Small crabs were tested for one hour in groups of ten whereas the
larger crabs were tested for 30 minutes and singly to avoid disruptive
social interactions. Crabs were removed from the aquaria and placed in
the holding area of the Y-maze (Fig. 2) for a 10 minute acclimation
period. A barrier was then remotely raised and crabs were presented
with a choice between two types of water (control and experimental).
Halfway through each experiment (30 min. with the small crabs, 15 min.
with the larger ones), the two types of water flowing into the trough
were transposed to avoid effects of preferential selection of the
trough arms. Any large crabs not moving out of the holding area within
.ten minutes were discarded. All crabs were measured and sexed after
Experiments were run initially with control water and with highly
colored (acidic) runoff from the upland creek. Subsequently, the effects
of pH alone were tested in a series of experiments in which control water,
its pH reduced to levels approximating those in the field through the
metered addition of dilute (0.5-10% V/V) hydrochloric acid'(Fig. 2), was
substituted for the experimental runoff. This acid had been used previously
for such purposes because it is highly dissociated and its anions
have low toxicity (Jones, 1947, 1948; Bishai, 1960, 1962). Additional
tests were made with the large crabs to determine the influence of
water color alone. These involved buffering the experimental runoff
to a pH equivalent to the control water by the addition of dilute
NaOH (1% V/V).
The avoidance responses of the small crabs were evaluated with the
test statistic Z, which tests for the equality (null hypothesis) of two
binomial proportions (Pl, P2, below) (Remington and Schork, 1970).
Avoidance was indicated when the number of crabs in the control arm at
the end of the first 30 minute interval (immediately before transposing
the test waters) was significantly larger than that found in the same
arm, under reversed conditions, at the end of the second 30 minute
interval. This results in a high Z value and the rejection of the
null hypothesis. Net significant avoidance was computed by the following
Avoidance Index (AI) = -pT--x 100
i = No. of crabs in the control arm at the end of the first 30 min. interval
No. of crabs in both arms at the end of the first 30 min. interval
P2 = No, of crabs in the experimental arm at the end of second 30 min. interval
No. of crabs in both arms at the end of second 30 min. interval
Crabs in the holding area at the base of the Y-maze were excluded
from the counts. Because of the technique of transposing the flows
of water halfway through each experiment, the results test the effect
of the type of water (control, experimental).
The threshold pH level for the small crabs was calculated by
regressing the mean avoidance indices (%) on pH and then extrapolating
for the pH value which elicited avoidance by 50% of the crabs (AI = 50%).
A confidence interval for each point in the regression line was computed
by Daniel and Wood's (1971) formula.
Avoidance by the larger crabs was measured as the amount of time
spent in the control water as a percentage of the total test time of
30 minutes (minus the time spent in the holding area). Values higher
and lower than 50% indicated avoidance and preference, respectively.
A one-way analysis of variance tested statistical differences between
time-responses of the large crabs.
Standards of measurement in field collections
All field samples (biological) were analyzed in the laboratory ac-
cording to established methods. Organisms were routinely counted and
measured (where possible: standard length for fishes, carapace width
for blue crabs, etc.). Weight conversions were also made as described
by Livingston et al. (1977).
Dry weights were obtained by oven-drying samples for 48 hours at
105C. Ash-free dry weights were obtained by ignition of the specimens
in a muffle furnace for 1 hour at 5500C. Preliminary samples indicated
less than 1% error was introduced by reducing the ignition time from the
recommended 3 hours (Cummings.and Waycheck, 1971) to 1 hour.
Linear regression equations utilizing a log-log (natural logs)
transformation were calculated for each species where data were available.
These were calculated according to the following general equation:
In (weight*) = In (length**)a b
a and b =.regression coefficients
*weight = dry weight (fishes)
= ash-free dry weight (invertebrates)
**length = standard length (fishes)
= total or carapace width (invertebrates)
For those invertebrate species where no length or width measurements
were taken, a representative grouping according to size was dried and/or
ashed; a single mean weight per individual was given for that species.
For those species collected so rarely that no length-weight relationship
could be established, regression equations or average weights of similar
species (similar body shape, size, etc.) were substituted.
Permanent stations were chosen in established areas of study (Fig. 1; 1,
IX, 3, 4, 4A, 5A, 6). A hand-operated corer (d. 7.7 cm) was used and 10
subsamples were taken monthly to depths of 15 cm at each station (1, 1X, 3,
6: from March, 1975 to February, 1976; 4, 4A, 5A, 5B; from February, 1975 to
present). All samples were washed through a 0.5 mm screen and fixed in 10%
formalin. Rose bengal was added at a concentration of 200 mg/l (Mason and
SYevich, 1967). Animals were rough-sorted and placed in 40% isopropyl alcohol,
identified to species, and counted. Biomass (ash-free dry weight) was deter-
mined by oven drying each sample at 1000C for 12 hours, then, after weighing it,
heating it at 5000C for four hours. 'Standard determinations for each species
were made using 100-200 individuals for computations of mean dry weight/
individual. This was then used for all conversions to biomass.
Leaf litter assemblages
Stations were established on the basis of previously determined
salinity regimes (Fig. 1). Station 5A, a predominantly freshwater
habitat during spring and early summer, is characterized by salt water
intrusion during late summer and fall -periods. Station 3 is a river-
dominated area with frequent increases in benthic salinity during summer
and fall periods. Station IX has relatively high salinities throughout
the year except during periods of high river discharge when intermediate
salinity levels prevail.
Experiments in the field were carried out with specially designed
detritus baskets. These baskets were constructed of plastic-coated
hardware cloth (6.5 mm2 mesh) shaped into cubes (30.5 mm/side) with
hinged tops. An inner fiberglass screen liner (2 mm2) covered the
sides and bottom of each basket. This allowed organisms access to
the inside of the basket; when the basket was pulled to the surface,
organisms were trapped inside. Baskets were weighted for stability.
Leaf litter was collected along the banks of the lower Apalachicola
River. Species composition of this litter was mixed, but it consisted
primarily of water oak (Quercus nigra), over-cup oak (Q. lyrata), red
maple (Acer rubrum), and sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua). The leaves
were air dried and placed in baskets (400 g dry weight per basket), which
were then situated at the various sampling sites. Sampling times were
.set according to seasonal fluctuations of key environmental parameters
in the Apalachicola Bay system. Three periods were chosen (spring,
April-May; summer, August-September; fall, October-November). During
the spring series, seven baskets (containing leaves) and two controls
(containing no leaves) were placed at stations lX, 3, and 5A. At weekly
intervals over a four to six week period, the baskets were retrieved
and rinsed in a bucket of sea water. During each sampling, leaf matter
was removed, placed in the water a second time, and swirled to remove
all organisms. The leaves were then replaced in the respective baskets
and returned to the bay. Organisms in the buckets were strained through
a 297 micron sieve, washed into jars, and preserved in 10% formalin.
In the laboratory, they were identified to species, counted and weighed
(wet weight). Ash free dry weights were determined as described above.
Multiple samples (7) were used to evaluate the method of collection.
A composite species accumulation was determined. Each point represented
the mean number of species found in the 7 subsamples taken at weekly
intervals from 9 April to 14 May. In each instance, an asymptote of species
accumulation was reached by the fourth sample. Further analysis was carried
out using a modification of a program described by Livingston et al.
(1976). At each sampling period, fifty random draws were made of the
7 possible combinations of species. Numbers of species accumulated with
each sample were averaged and plotted as a percentage of the total number
of species taken for the 7 samples. The cumulative distribution function
showed that at station 3, between 90 and 95% of all species were taken
by the fourth sample. At station SA, these figures ranged from 90 to
97% during the sampling period with asymptotes routinely established by
the fourth sample. An analysis was also made of the variability in the
determination of total numbers of individuals (N) taken within a group
of subsamples. Analysis of variance of N was determined from week to
week. A theoretical standard error Was calculated with confidence
limits established to determine variation by sample ( -S. x 100%) for
a given set of samples. This permitted a comparison of the true mean
of any number of samples with the mean for the total number of samples
(42). At station 5A, four samples of a given time period were within
130.8% of the mean (p < 0.05). At station 3, the ANOVA results indicated
marked differences in N from week to week. Consequently, data were
analyzed on a weekly basis. The four samples taken in each period were
within t51.0% of the mean (p < 0.05). Thus, the data indicate that in
terms of the number of species taken in a given set of samples, by the
fourth sample, a representative S value was achieved at each site. At
station 5A, relatively uniform N values were noted from sample to sample,
so that four samples would again allow adequate sampling effort. However,
at station 3, because of higher variability of N, more samples were
necessary to achieve the same confidence level. Based on these data,
it was determined that four samples were adequate for analysis. All
further operations were carried out using sets of four baskets for
Grassbed assemblages (East Bay)
Macrophyte samples were taken in two grassbed areas (stations 4A
and 4B; Fig. 1). These areas were dominated by Vallisneria americana.
A detailed analysis of sampling criteria is given by Livingston et al.
(1976). Samples were taken monthly from November, 1975 to October, 1976.
Vegetation was sampled by haphazardly throwing 8 0.25 m2 hoops at each
station and gathering all plant matter within each hoop. The plant
matter was placed in plastic bags, and the samples were taken to the
laboratory, where they were washed, sorted to species, and identified.
Collections were dried in ovens at 1050C for about 12 hours (until there
was no further weight loss). Total (whole plant) dry weight for each
species was determined and recorded by station, and data were entered
into the computer files as biomass (dry weight)/m2.
The species Vallisneria americana composed 99% (+) of the overall
biomass. Consequently, an effort was made to estimate the productivity
of this species from periodic standing crop measurements according to
a method described in Livingston et al. (1977). Vallisneria, as a peren-
nial, dies back in the late fall of each year. Minimal biomass was
determined by averaging the dry weight figures taken during the dormant
period (i.e. the winter months) and subtracting this from (summer) bio-
mass figures at each station. The confidence limits were broad because
of extreme seasonal and spatial variability; maximal biomass for station
4A was calculated from June rather than September (which is when biomass
peaks were actually observed).
Physico-chemical data were taken according to methods described
earlier in this report. Sampling for grassbed organisms was carried out
in identical fashion at stations 4A and 4B during the day and the
succeeding night (about one hour after sunset). Six one-minute trawl
tows (at speeds of about 1.5 knots) were made using a 32 cm dredge
net (D-net) (nylon bag: 1 mm mesh) for benthic sampling and a 30 cm
plankton net (1 mm mesh) for the surface biota. Sampling was carried
out in such a way that the same volume of water (15 m3/6 samples) was
sampled by each net. All organisms were preserved in 10% formalin in
the field and later washed and transferred to 40% isopropyl alcohol in
the laboratory. Samples were sorted,. identified to species, measured,
Short-term changes in epibenthic fishes and invertebrates
Apalachicola Bay seasonally undergoes considerable biological
changes due in part to variability of physico-chemical parameters.
Peak levels of productivity occur during specific periods (Livingston,
1976; Livingston et al., 1976). A seven month sampling period (May-
November) was chosen to coincide with increased rainfall and periods of
peak productivity to study the short-term effects of the increased
input of highly colored, acidic runoff on the epibenthic fauna
of East Bay. This sampling program was designed to test the immediate
response of the bay to upland runoff, and was carried out over a 2-year
period (1975-1977). Thus, regular collections were supplemented with
intensive sampling efforts during periods of precipitation.
Day and night collections at stations 4A, 5B, and 5C were taken
following periods of intensive rainfall using a 5 meter (16 foot) otter
trawl (1.9 cm wing mesh and 0.6 cm mesh liner) at speeds of 2-5 knots.
During dry periods, collections were taken at least every two weeks for
baseline data. Seven repetitive 2-minute trawls were made at each
station. This trawling technique has been proven adequate for represen-
tative sampling by Livingston (1976). Fishes and invertebrates were
preserved in 10% formalin solution for later identification and measure-
ment. Fishes were measured by standard length, shrimp from tip of telson
to end of rostrum, and crabs were measured laterally across the carapace.
. Snails and bivalves were counted.
Surface and bottom physico-chemical parameters (dissolved oxygen,
temperature, pH, salinity, depth, and light penetration measured by
standard Secchi disk) were taken at each station prior to trawling.
Water samples (top and bottom) were collected with a 1-liter Kemmerer
bottle for color and turbidity analysis. Wind direction and velocity
were estimated and relative tidal changes recorded. Local precipitation
was obtained from the East Bay forestry tower and river flow from the
Army Corps of Engineers (Mobile, Alabama).
Long-term changes in epibenthic fishes and invertebrates
Biological sampling was carried out in the bay at fixed stations
(Fig. 1) with 5-m (16 foot) otter trawls (1.9 cm mesh wing and body; 0.6
cm mesh liner) towed at speeds of 2.0-2.5 knots. The determination of
station placement and sampling procedures has been described by Livingston
(1974, 1976). Day and night samples were taken at monthly intervals
from March, 1972 to May, 1974. Only day samples were taken thereafter.
Complete data were not taken during 3 summer months of 1974. All
collections were preserved in 10% formalin and identified to species.
The following schedule was followed from March, 1972 to February, 1977.
7 (2-minute) trawl tows per month
stations 1, 5, and 6
2 (2-minute) trawl tows per month
stations lA, 1B, 1C, 2, 3, 4, 5A
This program was carried out in conjunction with more intensive sampling
in East Bay (stations 4A, 5B, 5C) and St. George Island (IE, IX). Analysis
was carried out on composite samples including stations 1, 5, and 6.
Varying combinations of stations and time periods were used for calculations,
which generally were performed on composite data at monthly intervals.
In addition, seine and trammel net collections were made in various
areas according to methods described by Livingston (1974).
Statistical methods and computations
Most of the quantitative analyses were made using an interactive
computer program (the Special Program for Ecological Science: Livingston
and Woodsum, 1977; see Livingston et al., 1977) under the KRONOS
operating system on a Cyber 73 computer (Florida State University
In all computations, numbers of individuals (N), dry weight biomass
(B), and number of species (S) were used. Various indices were determined
from the invertebrate and fish data. These included the Margalef Index
(MA) (Margalef, 1958), the Simpson Index (SI) (Simpson, 1949), and the
Shannon Index (H') (Shannon and Weaver, 1963; Pielou, 1966 a, b, 1967,
1969). Relative dominance (Dl) was determined by dividing the number
of individuals of the single most dominant species by the total number
of individuals (McNaughton, 1968; Berger and Parker, 1970). The
rationale for the use of these indices has been developed elsewhere
(Livingston, 1975, 1976) and will not be detailed here. The p
measure of affinity (van Belle and Ahmad, 1973) was used for the cluster
analysis with a locally modified version of a program furnished by Dr.
D. F. Boesch. All other statistical calculations were run with programs
taken from the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (S.P.S.S.,
1975) and the Biomedical Computer Program (B.M.D., 1973).
van Belle, B. and I. Ahmad: Measuring affinity of distributions. In:
Reliability and biometry: statistical analysis of lifelength.
Eds. F. Proschan and R. J. Serfling (1973).
Berger, W. H. and F. L. Parker. 1970. Diversity of planktonic foramini-
fera in deep-sea sediments. Science 168, 1345-1347.
Bishai, H. M. 1960. The effects of hydrogen ion concentration on the
survival and distribution of larval and young fish. Z. Wissenschaft-
liche Zool. 164, 107-118.
S1962. Reactions of larval and young salmonid to different
hydrogen ion concentrations. J. du Conseil 27, 181-191.
Cummings, K. W. and J. C. Waycheck. 1971. Caloric equivalents for
investigators in ecological energetic. Mitt. Internat. Verein.
Limnol. 18. 158 pp.
Daniel, C. and F. S. Wood: Fitting equations to data.
and Sons, Inc., New York 242 pp. (1971).
Folk, R. L. 1966. A review of grain-size parameters. Sedimentology
Ingram, R. L. 1971. Sieve analysis. In, R. E. Caever (ed), Procedures
in Sedimentary Petrology. Wiley-Interscience, New York. pp. 49-67.
Inman, D. L. 1952. Measures for describing the size distribution of
sediments. J. Sedim. Petrol 22, 125-145.
Jones, J. R. F. 1947. The reaction of Pygosteus pungitius L. to toxic
solutions. J. Exp. Biol. 24, 110-122
1948. A further study of the reaction of fish to toxic
solutions. J. Exp. Biol. 25, 22-34.
Livingston, R. J. 1974. Field and laboratory studies concerning the
effects of various pollutants on estuarine and coastal organisms
with application to the management of the Apalachicola Bay System
(North Florida, USA Final Report, State University System of
Florida. Sea Grant SUSFSG-04-3-158-43).
1975. Impact of Kraft pulp-mill effluents on
and coastal fishes in Apalachee Bay, Florida, U. S. A.
_. 1976. Diurnal and seasonal fluctuations of estuarine organ-
isms in a North Florida estuary. Est. Coastal Mar. Sci. 4, 323-400.
Livingston, R. J. et al. 1974. Major features of the Apalachicola Bay
system: physiography, biota, and resource management. Florida
Sci. 37, 245-271.
1976. Long-term fluctuations of epibenthic fish and
invertebrate populations in Apalachicola Bay, Florida. Fish.
Bull. 74, 311-321.
1977. Energy ~at'-,onships and the productivity of
Apalachicola Bay System. Final Report, State University System
1977. The biota of the Apalachicola Bay System:
functional relationships. In: Proceedings of the Conference on
the Apalachicola Drainage System. Eds. R. J. Livingston and
E. A. Joyce, Jr.
McNaughton, S. J. 1968. Structure and function in California grass-
lands. Ecology 49, 962-972.
Margalef, D. R. 1958. Information theory in Ecology. Gen. Syst.
Pielou, E. C. 1966a. Shannon's formula as a measure of specific
diversity: its use and misuse. Letters to the Editors, the
American Naturalist, 100.
1966b. The measurement of diversity in different types of
biological collections. J. Theor. Biol. 13, 131-144.
S 1967. The use of information theory in the study of
the diversity of biological populations. Proc. Fifth Berkeley
Symposium on Mathematical Statistics and Probability 4, 163-177.
Remington, R. D. and M. A. Schork. 1970. Statistics with Application
to the Biological and Health Sciences. Prentice-Hall, Inc.,
Englewood Cliffs, N. J. p. 147.
Shannon, C. E. and W. Weaver: The Mathematical Theory of Communication.
Univ. of Illinois Press, Urbana (1963).
Simpson, E. H.- 1949. Measurement of diversity. Nature 163, 668.
Fig. 1: See Chapter 1 (Fig. 1) for chart of station locations.
Fig. 2: Apparatus for the determination of blue crab avoidance
---- I II I I To storage tank
III. Physico-chemical Relationships
Habitat characteristics: sediments
The Apalachicola Bay System is characterized by sand, silt, and
shell components in various mixtures; St. Vincent Sound and northern
portions of Apalachicola Bay are silty areas that grade into sand/silt
and shell gravel as St. George Island is approached. Relict coarse
(quartz) sands are covered by fine-grained material deposited by the
Apalachicola River and biological processes in the bay. East Bay
is composed of silty sand and sandy shell. Relatively high turbidity
and sedimentation have significantly reduced benthic macrophyte distri-
bution in all but the shallowest (fringing) portions of the bay. Details
of the sediment type and distribution are already available (Livingston
et al., 1977).
This is a mid-bay station approximately 2 m in depth. The bottom
is somewhat loose, barren of vegetation, with occasional large.wood and
shell fragments. There are scattered coarse, sandy deposits in an
otherwise fine sand area. The monthly average grain size is 2.60 0
units and contains 6.52% organic matter. There was considerable
variation between samples both for grain size and organic content, with
no obvious trends. The concurrent decrease in grain size and increase
in organic content noted in February, 1976, coincided with maintenance
dredging activities nearby. Recent dredging (early 1978) may have a
considerable effect on the benthic areas around.station 1.
This station is situated in a shallow (1 m), protected grass bed,
composed mainly of Halodule wrightii. The bottom is very firm sand with
scattered oyster bars in the area. The average monthly grain size is
2.02 0 units and the organic content averages 2.06%. There was little
between-sample variation in grain size but the sediment organic content
increased from July to January, coinciding with the die-off and
decomposition of Halodule blades. Various forms of benthic macrophytes
such as Ulva lactuca and Gracilaria spp. are found here. A barrier
oyster bar lies just offshore; inside this reef, detritus is deposited
in the protected embayments by northerly and westerly winds. Considerable
amounts of such detritus are found in this area.
Station 3, approximately 0.5 km north of the Gorrie Bridge, is
a shallow area (1-1.5 m) subject to strong river action and tidal
currents. Various forms of detritus (branches, logs, leaves, etc.),
brought in by (winter-early spring) river flooding, are commonly
found here. During summer months, there is extensive colonization and
deposition of various species of blue-green and green algae. Water
hyacinth (Eichornia crassipes) is found along the shore. Marsh grasses
in this area include Phragmites communis, Typha latifolia, and Juncus
roemerianus. The bottom is firm, fine sand with beds of Ruppia maritima
and Vallisneria americana in the vicinity. The average grain size is
2.83 0 units and organic content averages 3.52%. There has been some
variability between samples for grain size and organic content, probably
resulting from the river-deposited debris.
This station is located i1n'the middle of a shallow (1 m), protected
embayment close to the Apalachicola River with seasonally dense beds of
Ruppia nearby. The bottom is a loose, fine sand-silt. Woody debris is
almost always noted in the samples. The monthly average grain size is
3.64 0 units and organic content averages 5.60%. Samples have been
variable with respect to grain size and organic content, with no trends
This station is in a shallow (1-2 m) Vallisneria bed in upper East Bay.
The bottom is fairly loose silty-sand. The monthly average grain size
is 3.98 0 units and organic content averages 8.61%. A fall peak in
organic content probably results from the die-off of Vallisneria blades.
Station 5A, approximately 1 km south of the upper marshes of
East Bay, has a monotonous silty-sand bottom with sparse (scattered)
growth of Ruppia maritima. Trawl catches indicate the presence of
Gracilaria foliifera. The upper coastline is fringed by beds of Vallisneria
americana and upland marshes. The average grain size is 1.82 0 units and
organic content averages 2.58%. Between-sample variation in grain size
is low, but organic content increases from summer through winter, to some
extent because of the Vallisneria die-off.
This station is located in an upper East Bay tributary. The bottom
is loose silt with Vallisneria fringing the shoreline. The average
grain size is 4.22 0 units and organic content averages 11.23%. Grain
size and organic content (relatively high) show relatively little
variability throughout the year.
In general, grain size decreases and organic content increases
as one moves from the outer Apalachicola Bay area into the upper
reaches of East Bay. The observed late summer-fall die-off of benthic
macrophytes coincides generally with an increase in sediment organic
Long-term changes in local rainfall and Apalachicola River flow
As part of the overall research effort in the Apalachicola
Estuary, and with the cooperation and help of Dr. Duane A. Meeter
(Department of Statistics, Florida State University) and Mr. Glenn
C. Woodsum (Department of Biological Science, Florida State University),
an analysis of long-term meteorological data (temperature, rainfall,
river flow) is presently under way. This review is anticipatory of a
publication now in preparation (Meeter et al., 1978), and will serve to
place the present 6-year biological study of the Apalachicola Bay
System in perspective with respect to the long-term trends of the primary
meteorological forcing functions. Since the Apalachicola River appears
to be one of the key physico-chemical components of the bay system, this
background is considered important to the present impact analysis.
Apalachicola River flow data (1958 present) were provided by
the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (Mobile, Alabama). Data were taken
near Blountstown, Florida and initial analyses (mean flow rates, etc.)
were provided by Mr. Roger P. Ruminik (U. S. Geological Survey; Tallahassee,
Florida). River flow information from 1920 1957 was provided by the
Army Corps based on Blountstown river gauges monitored by the U. S.
Weather Service. Local climatological data (temperature, rainfall)
for Apalachicola, Florida (1937 present) were provided by the Environ-
mental Data Service (NOAA) in Apalachicola. The rainfall data for the
East Bay area were provided by the East Bay Forestry Tower located in
the Tate's Hell Swamp (Franklin County, Florida).
Raw data (monthly means) are shown in Fig. 1. An inordinately high
level of river flow occurred during 1929. River flow and rainfall
(Apalachicola) showed considerable seasonal and annual variability. The
air temperature data (Apalachicola) were relatively constant with respect
to the annual fluctuations of temperature peaks although the seasonal
low temperature values did vary from year to year. Our biological
sampling period (1972 present) went from peaking river flow (1973 1975)
and rainfall (1974 1975) to present low flow and drought conditions.
Temperature reached an extreme low during 1976 after several years of
relatively moderate winter conditions. Composite monthly means (river
flow, 1958 1977; rainfall, temperature, 1937 -1977) are given in
Fig. 2 while log10 monthly means t 1 standard deviation are shown in
Fig. 3. The river flow usually peaks in the winter or early spring
(March-April); low flows occur from June to November; there is a
relatively high level'of monthly variability during winter periods of
high flow. There is considerable variability with respect to monthly
river flow peak placement from year to year, and this variability
is superimposed on the extreme level of annual variation throughout the
50-year period of study. There is a minor peak of local rainfall which
tends to coincide with the river flow pattern during winter and early
spring. The highest levels of local rainfall occur from July through
September, coinciding with peaking temperatures. The lesser rainfall
peak coincides with maximal winter river flows while the major summer
rainfall tends to follow the flow peaks by 5 to 6 months. The trends from
1972 to 1977, with monthly river flow ranges, are shown in Fig. 4.
Since the extreme flooding during the winter of 1973, there has been
a general decrease in river flow until the present time. During the
winter of 1976, there was only minor peaking of river flow and this
trend appears to have continued through the winter of 1978.
A moving average plot (6-month, 36-month) of river flow and rain-
fall is shown in Fig. 5. Peak flows in both parameters tended to
occur in 5- to 8-year cycles and there was a general similarity in
the patterns of rainfall and river flow. The possibility of even longer
term cycles of rainfall with a period of 40 or more years remains
open according to these data. There was a generally consistent
level of low river flow conditions with the exception of the mid
1950's (1955 1957) at which time flow rates seemed to be extremely
low. A spectral analysis was carried out on the river flow data
(Fig. 6) to determine the range of smoothing (60 lags, 240 lags) and to
develop an optimal level for peak resolution and confidence intervals.
Peaks at 4- to 6-month intervals were interpreted as harmonics of
the 12-month cycle (the river flow is not sinusoidal). There was
another, less determinate peak at an interval from 40 to 120 months.
Further analysis was based oirwtat was considered to be a reasonable
compromise of 120-month lags (Fig. 7). The logged rainfall data
showed high standard deviations during dry periods, so square root trans-
formations were used in the aFiis. The 6-month and 12-month
intervals of the bi-peaked raiwfaf pattern were evident and the rela-
tionships of river flow and rainfall described above were evidently real
according to this analysis. There was also a well-defined rainfall peak at
80 to 100 months, thus confirming a 6- to 8-year rainfall cycle which
corresponds generally with thebiesults of the moving average analysis.
These data tend to confirm long-term trends in both parameters which,
though not exactly correlated, tend to occur in the same area of the spectrum.
Analysis of coherence (level of correlation between the two series
at a specific frequency or period) and phase (amount by which.sine
waves of two series are separated) of river flow and rainfall data from
1937 to 1977 are shown in Fig. 8. The long-term period phase shift
approximation close to 0 indicates that the long-term waves in the two
series occur nearly simultaneously, and that the approximate period is
around 7 years. The coherence estimates at 6, 12, and 60-80 months (5 to 7
years) reinforce our previous results. The (winter) peaks of the two
series co-occur in time while the summer rainfall peak follows the river
flow peak by around 5 months (120-1500 phase shift). It should be
added that if the coherence is 0, the phase estimate is random and stronger
coherence values indicate enhanced precision of the phase estimate. Work
is continuing concerning long-term drainage patterns and the potential
influence of the Jim Woodruff Dam on the Apalachicola drainage system.
The physico-chemical environment of the bay
Data were analyzed with respect to general changes at two represen-
tative stations,(1, Apalachicola Bay; 5, East Bay). Water temperatures
are shown in Figs. 9 and 10. There was little spatial variation (depth,
area) of water temperature at a given time. Although temperature peaks
tended to remain stable from year to year, there was a general decrease
in winter lows from 1974 to 1977 which was particularly pronounced during
the winter of 1976-77 (Fig. 11). During this period, the seasonal
range of variability was extended as compared to the previous 6 years.
This is shown, along with a recent warming trend, in Fig. 12.
Salinity changes in inner and outer portions of the bay are
shown in Figs. 13-16. River flow was a major determinant of the salinity
regimes in the system. East Bay was less saline than Apalachicola
Bay, and there was considerable stratification, especially during
summer and fall periods. The secondary decreases in salinity during
summer and fall months appeared to reflect surface runoff from local
rainfall patterns. Such changes were more pronounced in East Bay
than in Apalachicola Bay. Low salinities occurred during winter and
spring months (associated with river flow), followed by increasing salinity
during the summer. There was then a rapid decline in the late summer
or fall (coincident with increased local precipitation), and this was
followed by a fall or winter salinity peak just prior to the ensuing
decrease in salinity with renewed increases in river flow. River flow
and rainfall fluctuations from 1970 to the present are shown in Figs.
17, 18, and 18A; Table 1. Peak flows occurred in 1973, since which
time total flow, peak flow, and seasonal variability have
decreased, especially during the 1976-78 period. The rainfall data
show'peak monthly values during the summers of 1970 and 1974-75, while
total annual rainfall peaked in 1970 and 1975. The relatively higher
values in Tate's Hell Swamp relative to the Apalachicola area are
noteworthy. During the period of study (1972-1978), the major water
flows into the.system thus occurred during the period from 1973-1975.
Moving average analyses of East Bay and Apalachicola salinities. (Fig.
19) reflect this trend, with lowest salinities occurihg during the 1973-
75 period. The salinity is now on the increase (1976-present). These
changes are reflected in baywide salinity data (Figs. 20-24) with the
exception of Sike's Cut (station 1B; bottom salinities remain high and
stable) and upper portions of East Bay (station 5A; salinities have
remained low since the end of 1974).
The influence of the major river flooding during the winter of 1973
is apparent in various physico-chemical functions such as color, turbidity,
and Secchi readings (Figs. 25-27). On the whole, there has been a general
decrease in turbidity in inner and outer bay areas since 1973. Color
followed this decrease at station 1; however, station 5 had peak
color levels during 1974-75 and color was generally higher in East Bay
than in Apalachicola Bay except during the 1973 river flooding; this
reflects the relative influence of river flow and local rainfall on
various portions of the bay. Secchi readings have continued to go
.down in East Bay while Apalachicola Bay has had relative increases in
light penetration during the last 2 years of sampling. These data
are presented in more detail in Figs. 28-42. East Bay was thus more
highly colored than Apalachicola Bay,'and showed a trend which appeared
to be linked to patterns of local rainfall and runoff in the Tate's Hell
Swamp area. Color levels became most pronounced during the summers
of 1974 and 1975. This was not the case with respect to turbidity
(Figs. 12-15), which tended to decrease during the study period in the
bay as a whole. Turbidity seemed to be closely correlated with river
flow. Turbidity peaks usually occurred during winter and spring months.
One notable exception to this tendency occurred during the summer of
1974 in areas of East Bay. These trends in color and turbidity were
generally reflected by the Secchi disk data, where significant decreases
with time occurred in East Bay relative to the Apalachicola Bay area.
Dissolved oxygen data are shown in Figs. 43-51. There was considerable
seasonal variation at most stations with peak levels generally occurring
during winter and spring months indicating the usual relationship with
water temperature and salinity. In East Bay, there was a significant
increase in dissolved oxygen with time relative to those levels in
A statistical treatment was carried out with the first four years
of physico-chemical data. The seasonal changes in various physico-
chemical variables in the Apalachicola Bay System have already been
described (Livingston, 1974, 1976; Livingston et al., 1974;.Livingston
et al., 1976). Overall, this is a shallow barrier island estuary
dominated physically by the fluctuations of the Apalachicola River;
this is especially true of parameters such as salinity, color, turbidity,
and nutrient levels. Generally, this is a highly turbid bay with consi-
derable oyster bar development and little benthic macrophyte productivity
except in shallow (fringing) areas. Tides in the Apalachicola Estuary
are semi-diurnal (mixed, unsymmetrical) with a small range (up to 1 m).
Winds in the area follow no clear directional trend although during
fall and winter there is a northerly flow which becomes southerly during
the rest of the year. In June, 1972, Hurricane Agnes came ashore near
the Apalachicola region with winds.gusting to 55 knots and tides around
2 m above the norm. The results of a factor analysis (Table 2) indicate
that high river flow is usually associated with increased color and
turbidity and reduced Secchi readings, and low levels of salinity,
temperature, and chlorophyll a. These results are consistent with
the known seasonal pattern of these factors, and indicate the impor-
tant influence of the Apalachicola River on the physical environment
of the Apalachicola Estuary. While the river dominates the seasonal
fluctuations of parameters such as salinity, long-term changes in the
overall salinity of the bay appear to be related also to other functions,
such as local rainfall and runoff. This would indicate that long-term
salinity levels are determined by multiple interactions which lead to
apparently contradictory results when viewed as short-term (as distinct
from long-term) trends.
Physico-chemical changes in East Bay: visual observations
The background river flow and rainfall conditions (Figs. 52-53)
should be kept in mind when specific water quality functions in the
upper portions of the Apalachicola Estuary are analyzed. Visual obser-
vations of water color (Fig. 54) indicated movement of highly colored
water into eastern portions of East Bay following locally heavy rainfall
(summer, winter). Affected areas include our stations 5, 5A, 5B, 5C,
and, occasionally, 4 or IC. Tidal currents and wind dominated the
movement of such water through the system. These observations have been
corroborated by LANDSAT images of the area (Jack Hill, U. S. E. P. A.,
Las Vegas; pers. comm.). Water quality maps of East Bay from November,
1974 to October, 1975 (Figs. 55-56) add further support to these observa-
tions. Conditions of high color and low pH usually occurred in eastern
portions of East Bay during winter and summer periods of high local
rainfall and runoff into the bay.
Water quality in Tate's Hell Swamp: experimental studies
According to data supplied by a local paper-pulp mill
(Dr. Walter L. Beers, Jr., pers. comm.), overall forestry activities in
Tate's Hell Swamp (i.e., total cleared acreage) peaked during 1971-1972.
Portions of the drainage system immediate to the East and West Bayous
(upper East Bay) were cleared largely during a period from 1973-75.
Since this time there has been little clearcutting or forestry activity
in this area, with one notable exception. Originally, the Round Bay
drainage (station 4A, Fig. 1 of Chapter I) was used as a control station
since it was out of the immediate drainage associated with cleared
areas of the East and West Bayou systems. However, during the late
spring of 1976, a drainage ditch was dug which emptied into Round Bay,
and, during the next 12 to 18 months, considerable upland portions of
this drainage system were clearcut (Figs. 57-59). Also, during 1975,
a cooperative watershed study was started in a managed area of the
East Bay system whereby sections 9 and 16 were managed according to the
following schedule (Dr. Walter L. Beers, Jr., pers. comm.):
intermittent burning 12/8/75-12/25/75
chopping and bedding 2/2/76-2/25/76
hand planting 2/25/76-3/18/76
canal re-excavation 3/24/76-5/15/76
no site activity 5/15/76-present
This area has been studied by scientists from the University of Florida
and a local forestry operation. In a cooperative effort from
January, 1975 to the present, our group has monitored water quality
functions in this drainage system on a monthly basis. Station place-
ment is shown in Fig. 1, Chapter I of this report. The purpose has
been to sample the area before, during, and after forestry management
operations with a comparison in areas above the cleared sections (the
so-called control stations, B4 and B8). As shown, this area drains
directly into the West Bayou arm of East Bay (station 5B).
Results of this ongoing study are shown in Figs. 60-68. The
pH in the Tate's Hell Swamp drainage is relatively low. The temporal
change in pH with time has been modest. Stations closer to the bay
(B10) are characterized by generally higher pH although, during periods
of rainfall, such levels remain relatively low. Color tends to increase
in areas receiving runoff from newly cleared areas relative to control
stations (B4, B8). This is especially apparent during winter and
summer periods of high rainfall. Stations closer to the bay (B9, B10)
are characterized by relatively lower levels of color. Turbidity
follows this trend with particularly high levels during the summer of
1977 at certain stations (Bl, B7). Turbidity is generally quite low
at stations closer to the bay (BO10). It is possible that turbidity
has been affected by the construction of a weir and settling basin at
station B7. Nutrient levels are shown in Table 3. Whereas the control
stations showed relatively uniform levels of various nutrients through
time, there were periodic increases in PO4 and especially NO3 at
various other stations, especially during the summer of 1975 and the
winter of 1976. During periods of drought, the drainage ditches usually
dry up; however, during heavy rainfall, water.runs through the drainage
ditches directly into the West Bayou area. High color levels usually
occur only when water .has been standing in upland (cleared) portions of
an adjacent drainage area for a certain period of time.
Overall, these data would lead to the following conclusions:
1. The construction of drainage ditches in Tate's Hell Swamp
constitutes a form of channelization whereby upland swamp water is
drained directly into receiving bodies of water (in this case, the
eastern portion of East Bay). The temporal pattern and total amount of
rainfall, together with levels of clearcutting and other forestry
operations, determine the quality of the runoff. During periods of
drought there is no such flow, and repeated episodes of heavy rainfall
ard usually needed before water quality changes in receiving systems
2. The pH levels in aquatic portions of Tate's Hell Swamp are
naturally low and this parameter does not appear to be directly affected
by the clearcutting operation. The color and turbidity of runoff from
cleared areas is usually high and, as water moves toward the bay, the
pH goes up, turbidity is substantially reduced and color undergoes
moderate decreases. All such functions are strongly influenced by
the-timing, duration, and intensity of local rainfall and the associated
forestry operations as outlined above.
3. Impact analysis should include consideration of various aspects
of forestry operations such as clearing, draining, fertilization, and
revegetation. Although the clearing phases do not seem to affect
the overall levels of pH, the draining of the swamp into receiving waters
does shorten the residence time of runoff water in upland areas. Extending
the drainage area and clearing the land of vegetation increases the
rapid lateral movement of water through the system during periods of
heavy rainfall and, consequently, aggravates the water quality situation.
The data indicate that such effects on water movement and quality
are seasonal and entirely dependent on local rainfall patterns and
surface runoff features of the immediate upland areas. The loss of
nutrients from such lands is part of this general water quality
Long-term water quality changes in the Apalachicola Estuary
The relationships of river flow and local rainfall to water quality
functions of the Apalachicola Estuary have already been discussed.
While river flow has a dominant effect on salinity and other physico-
chemical functions, local runoff is also an important determinant
of water quality, especially in East Bay. Proximity to river flow
and upland drainage systems such as Tate's Hell Swamp are important
considerations in any evaluation of causal relationships of water quality
in the Apalachicola Estuary.
Using data taken by the Florida Division of Health (John Taylor,
Jr., pers. comm.) from October, 1970 to November, 1971, a comparison
was made of long-term changes (1970-present) of salinity and pH in
East Bay (Figs. 69-78). Salinity changes at stations 4 and 5 reflected
river flow and rainfall variations over the years with high salinities
during the initial period of sampling giving way to generally reduced
salinities (1974-76) and, finally, to a trend of gradual recovery of
seasonally high salinity levels during the period from 1976 to the
present. The major river flow event during the winter of 1972-73 is
evident in the salinity regime throughout the bay. At station 4A, the
subsequent recovery of increased salinity was evident during 1976 but
there.was a general decrease in salinity in 1977. This runs counter
to trends in other portions of East Bay. At stations 5B and 5C,
these trends in salinity showed progressive decreases in salinity
from 1974 to the present time. This decrease does not resemble the
patterns in any other portion of the bay and is not congruous with
the long-term river flow and rainfall conditions (Figs. 52-53; Table 1).
The pH levels at station 4 have not varied to any significant degree
during the study period. At station 5, the pH range was maximal during
1976 although readings did not go below 6 and there was no general trend,
up or down. At station 4A, there was a tendency for the pH to increase
from 1975 to mid-1976 and then generally to decrease from mid-1976 to
the present. The lowest pH ever recorded at this station was taken during
the summer of 1977. Low pH levels were taken during the summer of
1975 at stations 5B and 5C. The pH levels during this period were
tested statistically and found to be significantly lower than those
during the 1970-71 period (prior to intensive local clearing activities).
At both stations (5B, 5C) there has been a recent (1975-76) trend of
increasing pH despite the fact that salinities were falling at station
48 during this period. This could be interpreted as indicative of a
recovery of water quality in this area of the bay.
These data indicate that local forestry operations do have an
effect on water quality conditions in aquatic (downstream) receiving
systems. Recent clearing and draining activities have caused pH de-
creases in the Round Bay area, a former control area. Impact due to low
pH was maximal in East and West Bayous following extensive local forestry
operations and heavy summer rainfall during the summers of 1974 and
1975. Recovery of the pH levels appeared to be relatively rapid (1-2
years) although related effects on local salinity conditions did not
follow the water quality recovery. The salinity relationships remain
relatively unclear at this time. The extent of the water quality
changes reflects input from a number of variables: extent, type and
location of forestry operations, timing and intensity of local rainfall,
river flow trends, and temporal (sequential) successions of other con-
tributing factors. Water quality changes in upper East Bay can be
related directly to upland forestry management activity. The quantitative
aspects of water movement from drained portions of upland areas remain
poorly understood and appear to be more long-lasting than the changes in water
quality as indicated by pH.
Changes in other water quality functions in upper portions of
East Bay are shown in Figs. 79-90. Dissolved oxygen levels at station
4A became more variable with time; the lowest levels occurred during
the summer of 1977 and the highest levels occurred during the winter
of 1977-78. At stations 5B and 5C, the lowest D. 0. levels were
recorded during the summers of 1974 and 1975. In both areas, there
was a general trend of increased levels of dissolved oxygen after
the 1974-75 period. Color levels tended to decrease at all 3 stations
with time until an unexplained peak occurred throughout the bay during
the winter of 1978. This peak was probably caused by high local rainfall
and high winds at this time. Overall, water color tended to reach its
highest levels during the 1974-75 period. Turbidity peaked at station 4A
during the winter of 1976-77 and peaks of turbidity occurred during the
winter and early spring months of 1975 at stations 58 and 5C. These
trends are apparent in the Secchi data where the trend has been downward
at station 4A during the 1977-78 period while it has remained relatively
stable at stations 5B and 5C.
Livingston, R. J. 1974. Field and laboratory studies concerning the
effects of various pollutants on estuarine and coastal organisms
with application to the management of the Apalachicola Bay System
(north Florida, USA Final Report, State University System of
Florida. Sea Grant SUSFSG-04-3-158-43).
S1976. Diurnal and seasonal fluctuations of estuarine
organisms in a North Florida estuary. Est. Coastal Mar. Sci.
Livingston, R. J. et al. 1974. Major features of the Apalachicola
Bay system: physiography, biota, and resource management. Florida
Sci. 37, 245-271.
S1976. Long-term fluctuations of epibenthic fish and
invertebrate populations in Apalachicola Bay, Florida. Fish.
Bull. 74, 311-321.
1977. Energy relationships and.the productivity of
Apalachicola Bay System. Final Report, State University System
Meeter, D. A. et al. 1978. Time series analysis of controlling
physical variables in the Apalachicola Bay system. In preparation..
Table 1: Annual Apalachicola River Flow (mean monthly, C.F.S.) and Local
Rainfall (cm) from 1970 to 1977.
(1 Jan.-31 Dec.)
Apalachicola East Bay Tower
Table 2: Factor analysis of a set of physicochemical variables taken
from March, 1972 to February, 1976. Color, turbidity, Secchi
readings, salinity, temperature, and chlorophyll A
were noted at Station 1 in the Apalachicola Estuary Tidal Data
included the stages of the tide on the day of collection while
the wind variable was represented by 2 vector components.
(49.0% of the
River fl ow
Tide (incoming or
Tide (high or low)
Kind direction (E-W)
-Wind direction (N-S)
Turbi di ty
(22.3% of the
the v "
"* 0.31 1
Table .3: Water Quality data
taken during experimnetal clearcutting In Tate's Hell
---- ---- ----
---- ---- ----
3.52 --- 5.54
17.0 --- 0.33
---- ---- ----
--- --- 19.0 --- 23.6 37.2 27.2
8 10 18.3 15.6
Fig. 1: Raw data concerning long-term changes of air temperature and
rainfall (Apalachicola, Florida; 1937-1977) and Apalachicola
River flow (Blountstown, Florida; 1920-1977). Monthly
mean figures are given in degrees centigrade, centimeters,
and cubic feet per second.
g s seas^ ,
2. I A I*
Fig. 2: Mean figures by month for Apalachicola River flow (1958-77),
local (Apalachicola) rainfall (1937-77) and local temperature.
''"""~ TEMPERAT URE
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Fig. 3: Mean (log10) figures by month for Apalachicola River flow
(1958-77) and local (Apalachicola) rainfall (1937-77) t one
standard deviation (river flow, April-September; rainfall,
River flow-- 1958-77
I I I I I I I I I I I I
J FMA M.J JASON D
Fig. 4: Monthly mean levels of Apalachicola River flow (C.F.S.) and
local (Apalachicola) rainfall (cm) from March, 1972- February,
J I '
5 8 11 2 5 8 11 2 5 8 11 2 5 8 11 2 II 8 2
TIME IN MONTHS (3/72-2/77)
V I 1
S'* I I
40-- I I I I
5 8 11 2 5 8 11 2 5 8 11 2 5 8 11 2 5 8 11 2
TIME IN MONTHS (3/72-2/77)
Fig. 5: Moving averages (6-month, 36-month) of monthly mean levels
of Apalachicola River flow (1920-1977) and local (Apalachicola)
AI & IA A'A
Jlvuy~ 1IVIVAVR 4YV
1920 1925 1930 1935 1940 1945 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975
Fig. 6: Spectral analysis of Apalachicola River flow (mean monthly
figures, 1920-1977) at 60 and 240 lags with 95% confidence
- 240 Lags.7d.f.
12 10 8
Fig. 7: Spectral analysis of log monthly mean values of Apalachicola
River flow (1937-77) and vocal rainfall (Apalachicola,
1937-77), using 120 lags.
--- log River Flow
12 10 8
Fig. 8: Spectral analysis showing coherence and phase (in degrees)
of Apalachicola River flow and local (Apalachicola) rainfall
(monthly means) taken from 1937-77.
RIVER & RAINFALL SPECTRA
120 40 20 12 10 8 6 5 4