Capstone Title

An Environmental Review of the Condado Lagoon Ecosystem Restoration Project

Defense Date

12-2005

Document Type

Capstone

Degree Name

M.S. Coastal Zone Management

First Advisor

Steffen Schmidt

Second Advisor

Andrew Rogerson

Abstract

This paper presents an environmental review of the Condado Lagoon ecosystem restoration project in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Historical alterations to facilitate development have left behind a deep artificial depression within the lagoon. Low oxygen and anaerobic conditions occur regularly in the depression due to the lack of proper water circulation, impairing the lagoons water quality and biological resources. The restoration project would use dredged material from the nearby San Juan Harbor to fill the artificial depression. The agencies involved hypothesize that filling the depression would improve water quality conditions in the lagoon in addition to enabling seagrass to colonize the area once the original elevation is restored. This paper concludes that the restoration efforts overall would be beneficial. However, the restoration alone may not be effective in improving water quality if the sources of point and non-point pollution continue to enter the lagoon. This is one of many anticipated management issues and challenges facing this project. Finding suitable substrate material in the San Juan Harbor is another major concern, as is a consistent federal funding stream. If the project is constructed as described in the preliminary restoration plan, the .overall environmental effects of the project would be beneficial, although there would be some unavoidable adverse impacts in the short term, such as an increase in turbidity during construction.

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