Barry A. Vittor & Associates, Inc. produced and implemented a study plan for evaluation of material to be dredged in Gulf LNG Energy’s proposed ship berth area at Bayou Casotte, Jackson County, MS. This plan was coordinated with the Mobile District Corps of Engineers and U.S. EPA-Region 4. Project deliverables include preparation of a Section 103 report (with TRC) and a final report concerning sediment chemistry, sediment and elutriate toxicity testing, and bioaccumulation testing and tissue chemistry. Vittor & Associates also performed a detailed baseline study of benthic organisms that would be displaced/removed by excavation of the ship berth basin and has been conducting post-dredging monitoring since 2010. Macroinfauna samples are collected and analyzed for benthic species taxonomy and abundance, and reports are prepared to describe benthic habitats. Macroinfaunal species data are used in part to evaluate benthic habitat suitability for the Gulf sturgeon; coastal Mississippi estuaries have been classified as critical habitat for this species. Benthic macroinfauna monitoring data are also important in assessing the post-dredging value of deepened habitats as essential fish habitat (EFH).
Vittor & Associates also performed baseline studies of fishery resources in the project area, using demersal trawling and shallow-water seining. Similar surveys are performed semi-annually in the excavated basin and surrounding undisturbed habitats, to determine levels of finfish and shellfish utilization of the project area.