Alternate Title

Effects of Saltwater Intrusion from the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal on the Benthos of Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana

Document Type



A study of the benthos of southern Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, was conducted from July 1976 to July 1978. Seven offshore stations and three stations in the New Orleans Marina complex were sampled seasonally. Offshore stations formed a transect from the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway to the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal (I.H.N.C.). A west to east gradient of increasing salinity and salinity stratification was evident.

Faunal differences among stations were assessed using indices of diversity, biological dominance, pollution, and station homogeneity. The fauna of the marina stations had a low species diversity and was dominated by annelids, indicative of a stressed environment. The fauna of stations near the I.H.N.C. were similar to the marina stations. Moving westward from the I.H.N.C., species diversity increased and the fauna became dominated by mollusks. Stressful conditions associated with the intrusion of water from the I.H.N.C. into Lake Pontchartrain appeared to be responsible for the faunal differences observed.

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