Archived: July 29, 2004

Introduction to Area

The Rincon Bayou, located northwest of Corpus Christi, Texas, is part of the Nueces River delta. Over recent years, the bayou has suffered from anthropogenic effects resulting in reduced freshwater flow into the bayou.

Historically, the Rincon Bayou is subject to freshwater inundation following seasonal rainfall events farther inland along the Nueces River. The freshwater inundation provided the bayou with nutrients and enough freshwater to remove the saline from the estuarine system. However, in 1984 the Bureau of Reclamation built a dam along the Nueces River to create Choke Canyon, which has consequently caused a decrease in freshwater flow into the Rincon bayou. This decrease in freshwater flow has affected the wetland plant and macroinvertebrate communities. The hypersaline condition makes it difficult for plants to produce seeds and if seeds are produced, they often do not germinate.

AIRSAR imagery of the Rincon Bayou acquired June 26, 1996. Bands C-HH, L-HH, and P-HH. CAMS imagery over the Rincon Bayou acquired July 5, 1996. Bands 6,4, and 2. Wooded areas are bright red, while mud/sand flats are greyish-white. Fresh and brackish marshes are lighter shades of red and darker grey.

As part of an effort for the Rincon Bayou-Nueces Marsh Wetlands Restoration and Enhancement Project, the Bureau of Reclamation has created a channel between the Nueces River and the Rincon Bayou. This channel is located just east of Highway 77 and extends 900 ft to the bayou. The purpose of the channel is to increase the freshwater inflow into the bayou. A second channel was cut within the bayou in an effort to increase the freshwater flow to an area dominated by sand and mud flats. It is hoped that the increase in freshwater flow will help re-establish the vegetative community.

The Rincon Bayou is a reverse bayou, where most of the water within the estuarine system is tidally influenced. The region dominated by mud/sand flats is the only region of the system that is event influenced.

Due to the lack of significant rainfall over the past year (Oct. 95 - Oct. 96) the effectiveness of the channel is still somewhat uncertain. At the peak of the drought in Summer 96, saline levels were as has as 140 ppm in open water bodies along the bayou.

Topography of the bayou is very flat, with elevations ranging from 0 to 16 ft. As with most wetland systems, slight elevation changes can show a distinct change in the vegetation type. Some of the roads and railroads within the bayou act as a dike and affect the flow of water. Water may only pass through two locations past the MOPAC railroad, which cuts the middle of the bayou.

UT Bureau of Economic Geology Wetlands Map of Rincon Bayou, 286 K

Initial Classification

Airborne digital radar (AIRSAR) and optical (CAMS) imagery were acquired June 26, 1996 and July 5, 1996 respectively over the Rincon Bayou. The goal of this project is to investigate the use of high resolution imagery for wetland mapping and classification. The CAMS imagery acquired over the eastern portion of Rincon Bayou was unfortunately cloudy and is not being used for vegetative studies.

The initial classification will be focused primarily upon the vegetation (i.e. no industrial) of the Rincon Bayou. Due to the cloud cover, the prelimanary investigation of CAMS and AIRSAR covers the western portion of the bayou and does not include salt marshes, therefore they will not be included into the initial classification results. Visual interpretation of the CAMS and AIRSAR imagery yields the following vegetative classes that should be readily identifiable for the initial study:

Classification Results


Sunday, 01-Aug-2004 00:24:38 CDT