Benthic Habitat Mapping Reports for Pleasant Bay

Are you curious about our Benthic Habitat Mapping Project and the information that it will yield?

Here are the Benthic Habitat Mapping Reports for Pleasant Bay:

Friends of Pleasant Bay Benthic Report

Center for Coastal Studies Pleasant Bay Report Final 2018

Side Scan Sonar Tracks
Geoforms of Pleasant Bay as determined by side-scan sonar and bathymetry.

The Friends of Pleasant Bay engaged the Center for Coastal Studies to assess their benthic habitat, study their fin fish populations as well as their seal populations.  The “final report” draws conclusions about the relationships between the three studies.  For example, through the inspection of seal scat, they discovered that main forage of the seals was sand lances!

The overall study took place across a three year period and commenced with mapping coupled with benthic grab sampling followed by a fin fish study and then the seal population study.

Macro Invertebrates
Micro-invertebrates most abundant in biotic groups.

Friends of Barnstable Harbor Benthic Habitat Mapping Project

Our own Benthic Habitat Study began this past June with the  22 days of sidescan sonar data collection.  Remaining for the 2018 season will be the collection of approximately 20 benthic grab samples.  Processing of data, sorting and counting of benthic samples will be performed in the lab.  If all goes well, we will be a position to embark on a fin fish study in the summer of 2019.

Benthic Habitat Mapping Ponton Boat
Center for Coastal Studies Pontoon Boat collecting side-scan sonar data in June 2018.












Our fundraising efforts are underway.  The total budget for the Benthic Habitat Mapping Project amounts to $214,000.  The Center for Coastal Studies has offered a 25% match leaving the remaining balance for funding of $165,000.  We have secured a $25K grant from an (as of yet) unnamed source, and we are working with the town and other foundations for further funding.

We have just begun efforts seeking private donations and will gratefully accept donations of any size.

Barnstable Harbor is one of the most robust and healthy harbors on Cape Cod.  Its large tidal flow contributes to its clean and fruitful waters.  It hosts several significant maritime enterprises including aquaculture grants, whale watching, harbor eco-tours, restaurants and several marinas.  Its charter fishing boat fleet is thriving on the bounties provided by the harbor’s sand lances, shrimp, and other forage fish.  Recreational anglers and shell fishermen also share in the abundance that Barnstable Harbor provides.

Added Value!

Finally, the Benthic Habitat Mapping Project will not only likely beget more scientific studies in the harbor (its baseline data will be very attractive to other scientists studying habitat, geoforms, horseshoe crabs and countless other subjects), but it will become the center of our own Youth Education Project.  The data collected and sorted by the Benthic Habitat Mapping Project can be incorporated into “programming” for students of all levels.

Please click the PDF links above and take a look at the completed study for Pleasant Bay.  The summary of these studies speak clearly to exactly why our Benthic Habitat Mapping Project is so important.