Lake Maurepas Monitoring Project


The overall goal of this project is to conduct a monitoring study in the Lake Maurepas
ecosystem, focusing on both the abiotic and biotic components of the lake and surrounding
region. Southeastern Louisiana University is serving as the independent monitoring
group and will gather baseline data within the aquatic and wetland realms prior to
the initiation of any future carbon sequestration projects in Lake Maurepas. In the
interest of maintaining transparency, our data will be posted on this project website
and will remain open access and available to the general public. The specific focal
areas of the project are as follows:

Southeastern’s Role

  • Four monitoring buoys will be deployed in Lake Maurepas with each buoy gathering data
    in real time including water temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, carbon dioxide, and
    turbidity. One buoy will be fit with a weather station to monitor atmospheric conditions.
    All data will be available on a Southeastern webpage.

  • Fishes, shrimp, blue crabs, and Rangia clams will be collected and abundance will
    be quantified. Lengths and weights of each species will be gathered to assess condition/health.
    Species richness and diversity statistics will be compared across sampling periods.

  • Environmental DNA (eDNA) samples will be gathered and will provide a comprehensive assessment of fish species diversity.

  • Twelve wetland sites will be permanently established and vegetation growth and changes
    in canopy cover will be monitored. Soil salinity, nutrient levels, bulk density, and
    percent organic matter also will be monitored.

  • At least 2,000 cypress saplings will be planted each year.

  • Physiological stress, ecotoxicological metrics and organismal gas gradients in blue
    crabs, bullfrogs, catfishes, and alligators will be monitored.

  • Alligator nesting and egg viability will be monitored in Lake Maurepas WMA annually.
    The Maurepas alligator population will be monitored demographically (population size,
    growth rate, error, survivorship) via mark-recapture analysis.

  • Sediments and suspending sediments will be gathered from dredged and non-dredged areas
    in Lake Maurepas. Multiple point measurements will be gathered weekly using a Ponar
    dredge monitoring device. Chemical analyses will be conducted on the waters, suspended
    sediments, and organisms from the lake.