Happy World Seagrass Month!
Seagrass is an underwater, flowering plant that can be found in relatively protected and healthy bays, with 60 species worldwide. Seagrass meadows are a critical habitat for young finfish and crustaceans, help protect our coastlines from storms and rising tides, and also soak up nutrients and bacteria, helping to keep our seawater clean. Two species of seagrass are found in Massachusetts: eelgrass and widgeon grass.
But seagrasses around the world are being lost at a rate of about two football fields every hour. Many things can damage seagrass, from polluted water to boats dragging their anchors. To track changes in eelgrass, Mass DMF conducts diver-based and remote-sensing eelgrass surveys in bays throughout our coast and participates in SeagrassNet, an international seagrass monitoring network.
In addition to successfully restoring tens of acres of eelgrass in Boston Harbor and Salem Sound, the team collaborates with partners on interesting projects like genetic diversity, citizen science monitoring, wasting disease, invasive species, and conservation moorings. DMF provides expertise and leadership in issues pertaining to seagrass and other sensitive habitats through the Technical Review process.
Keep tuning in to the blog to learn more about the exciting seagrass projects DMF has planned in 2018, and HAPPY SEAGRASS MONTH!