Water Quality and Biological Monitoring of the Trinity River Delta and Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge


The major objectives of this project are to 1) establish an automated monitoring network to help evaluate water movement and water quality in the tidal waters of the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and the Trinity River Delta; 2) evaluate nekton associations with wild celery beds in the Trinity River Delta; 3) perform biological monitoring in the tidal waters of the ANWR; and 4) perform bathymetric assessment of the tidal waters of the ANWR.

Study Area

Trinity River Delta and Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Galveston Bay, Texas

Project Period

2016 – 2017


The National Wildlife Federation (NWF), as a member of a team of NGOs and university partners informally known as the Texas Environmental Flows Initiative (TEFI), is pursuing scientific and technical analyses to set the stage for one or more transactions to help secure freshwater inflows for several Texas bay/estuary systems. In order to understand potential benefits of such a transaction in terms of biological and habitat responses, biological monitoring and basic physicochemical measurements using concurrent continuous measurements of tide level and salinity are required.

EIH's role is to assist NWF and the TEFI partners in developing a more thorough understanding of the salinity and tidal dynamics in two target areas for delivery of freshwater in the Galveston Bay system. These target areas are the Trinity River Delta and the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), which eventually drain into East Galveston Bay, both of which have a variety of marsh habitats. Continuous water quality monitoring, water surface elevation, biological monitoring, and assessment of the physical attributes of these tidal waters will be studied to help inform freshwater inflow assessments for Galveston Bay.

EIH in Action

Jenny Oakley, environmental scientist, visits a monitoring site at the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge
Raul Sarmiento and Jenny Oakley release an alligator gar back into Oyster Bayou, ANWR
Jenny Oakley calibrates field equipment
Sherah Loe, research assistant, steers EIH's Go-Devil to a monitoring site in Anahuac NWR
Anna Vallery and Tyler Swanson set up water quality monitoring equipment in the Trinity River
Cory Scanes, senior research associate, calibrates a sonde for deployment in Anahuac NWR
Monitoring equipment set up for site survey
Raul Sarmiento, Jenny Oakley, and Nicole Morris sample Trinity River nekton using a drop sampler and sweep net
Nicole Morris uses an epibenthic sled to collect fish and crustaceans at a sampling site in the Trinity River Delta.
Raul Sarmiento, Dr. George Guillen, and Nicole Morris collect nekton at a sampling site in the Trinity River Delta

Project Sponsors

Related links

Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge

  • Environmental Institute of Houston

    Phone: 281-283-3950
    Email: eih@uhcl.edu

    North Office Annex
    2700 Bay Area Blvd, Box 540
    Houston, TX 77058-1002

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