Sediment Contaminants and Infauna Associated with Recreational Boating Structures in a Multi-Use Marine Park
Multi-use marine parks achieve conservation through spatial management of activities. Zoning of marine parks in New South Wales, Australia, includes high conservation areas and special purpose zones (SPZ) where maritime activities are concentrated. Although such measures geographically constrain anthropogenic impacts, we have limited understanding of potential ecological effects. We assessed sediment communities and contaminants adjacent to boating infrastructure (boat ramps, jetties and a marina) in a SPZ from the Clyde Estuary in Batemans Marine Park. Metal concentrations and fines content were elevated at boating structures compared to reference sites. Species richness was higher at sites with boating structures, where capitellid polychaetes and nematodes dominated the communities. Changes associated with boating structures were localised and did not extend beyond breakwalls or to reference sites outside the SPZ. The study highlights the benefits of appropriate zoning in a multi-use marine park and the potential to minimise stress on pristine areas through the application of spatial management.