Bald Head Creek (BHC) is a tidally dominated brackish water complex surrounded by expansive salt marsh habitats. Salt marshes are among the globe’s most productive and important marine ecosystems providing numerous ecosystem services such as water filtration, flood, and stormwater buffering capacity, fish nursery habitat, and a plethora of recreational activities.
The primary objective of the BHC project is to gain a better understanding of BHC water quality through weekly analysis of physical parameters (e.g., temperature, salinity, total dissolved solids (TDS), dissolved oxygen, and pH), bacterial densities, and nutrient dynamics. Because these parameters exhibit strong relationships to environmental variables such as sunlight and tidal stage, BHIC scientists also conduct periodic 24-hour samplings to assess diel fluctuations in BHC water quality. In 2017, a Cape Creek sampling station was added as a control site to better assess the influence of development and Village activity on BHC water quality. We are beginning monitoring of salt marsh vegetation to track changes through time.