The Effects of Hydraulic Dredging to Control Oyster Drills on Benthic Macrofauna of Oyster Grounds in Delaware Bay, New Jersey



This study describes the extent and nature of the effects of hydraulic dredging to control oyster drills (Urosalpinx cinerea and Eupleura caudata, Family Muricidae, Order Neogastropoda) on benthic macrofauna and sediments of the oyster grounds in Delaware Bay, New Jersey. The immediate effects of hydraulic dredging were reductions in numbers of species as well as in total numbers of animals on the three oyster grounds selected. However, oyster drills were most affected. Benthic populations have recovered three to ten months after dredging. The sediments of the dredged grounds can be described as muddy sands. Immediately after dredging, additional mud was brought up from subsurface layers which reduced the median grain size on Ground 154 test plot. On Ground 515 test plot, however, there was a slight loss in the mud which increased the median grain size.