Impacts on Indicator Fish Species from the Reduced Flow of Power Plant Cooling Water
Therefore, using long-term otter trawl data in a Before-After-Control-Impact study design, we analyzed six indicator juvenile fish species (P. americanus, P. dentatus, T. maculatus, S. fuscus, C. striata, M. menidia) that varied in both their water column occupancy and estuarine dependency level to determine their response (size or relative abundance) to the flow reduction from the OCNGS. Relative abundance did not vary for the juveniles of any indicator species, regardless of water column occupancy or estuarine dependency, in relation to the OCNGS shutdown and flow reduction. Size, seen through length frequency, varied only for one level of water column occupancy, nektonic fish, but not the other level, benthic fish. Warmer waters from the heated effluent of the OCNGS before the shutdown likely acted as a place of enhanced growth and/or refuge for nektonic species. Continued sampling of the juvenile fish within Barnegat Bay will create a higher level of confidence in results.