In 2004 Barry A. Vittor & Associates, Inc. implemented a water quality monitoring program for Buckeye Florida, L.P. to support ongoing restoration efforts intended to return the Fenholloway River estuary to Class III Fishable and Swimmable Waters.
The Econfina River estuary is considered the unimpaired (healthy) reference for the Fenholloway system. The monitoring program has included monthly of sampling of water quality parameters, nutrients, phytoplankton, light availability and seagrass distribution and abundance at five discrete stations in both the Fenholloway and Econfina systems as well as an annual comprehensive seagrass survey in Apalachee Bay from the Aucilla River to northwest of the Econfina River. Objectives of the monitoring program have included:
1) Assess the relationship between nutrient loading due to Buckeye’s discharge and the occurrence of phytoplankton blooms;
2) Monitor and assess various water quality parameters to support the development of site specific water quality criteria for transparency, nutrients and dissolved oxygen;
3) Monitor and assess the seagrass assemblages from west of the Econfina River to east of the Fenholloway River as a response measure of Fenholloway restoration.