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Sidescan-Sonar Study of Benthic Habitat off Southern California

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inspecting the Klein 2000 sidescan fish
Fred Payne (left, USGS) inspects bottom of Klein 2000 sidescan fish for dents. Captain Marcus Lebek (right, NOAA) assists him.
Last October, USGS and NOAA scientists used the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary's R/V Ballena to collect sidescan-sonar data in California waters near the Santa Barbara Channel Islands. The objective was to sidescan a National Marine Fisheries Service study area which encompasses a proposed California State fish reserve off Vandenberg Air Force Base. Guy Cochrane and Fred Payne were the USGS crew. The NOAA crew consisted of Marcus Lebek (Captain), Adam Petusky, and Sarah Fangman.

The Ballena was mobilized with the Klein 2000 system on October 13. Data were collected off Point Arguello during October 16-18 and October 20-21. Use of the Vandenberg Air Force Base pier for a night anchorage was not possible because sand had filled the embayment; we anchored off Government Point.

We were able to acquire about 200 trackline kilometers of data, which will produce about 70 km2 of coverage, or 60% of the data required to map benthic habitat in the National Marine Fisheries Service study area. There was evidence of recent oil seepage on the sea surface in an area where pockmarks were observed on the sea floor. We were driven out of the area by high swells and had to spend the remainder of the cruise filling in data gaps in areas southeast of Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands, and southwest of Anacapa Island.

The data were collected with 275-m line spacing and 200-m range. The 4-kHz subbottom profiler was used throughout.

The R/V Ballena was demobilized October 29. Our next mapping cruise will be on the R/V MacArthur in May and June of 2000 in conjunction with year two of the Sustainable Seas Expeditions.

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Long Island Sound

Moloka'i Coral Reefs

North Carolina Outer Banks

Southern California Benthic Habitat

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Nat'l Environmental Careers Conference

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