Welcome to SeagrassSoundings Blog

Welcome to SeagrassSoundings Blog

SeagrassSoundings focuses on the work that scientists and managers are doing to protect, preserve, study, restore and monitor seagrass in Massachusetts and throughout New England.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Restoration in Salem Sound: Another Successful Volunteer Day 6/19/12

On Tuesday 6/19/12, twelve volunteers from the New England Aquarium's Live Blue Ambassadors group made the journey from Boston to Beverly on a sunny, breezy morning. The group arrived around 8am at Lynch Park to help prepare the work stations and begin weaving eelgrass into burlap discs or "tortillas".

Volunteers worked throughout the morning at a great pace, finishing enough discs to get the divers in the water around 11am for their first planting dive off of Woodbury Point. Plants were transferred from the beach to the dive boat via DMF biologist Devon Winkler in a small Lund motor boat.

DMF Divers Wes, Tay, Mark and Jill completed two 1+ hour dives to plant 260 discs (2,600 plants) in 5m x 5m checkerboard plots at pre-determined intervals along two transect lines. Dive conditions were excellent, with great visibility and low current, but enough flushing to keep suspended sediment from clouding the work area.

With the help of our beach-side volunteers on both 6/12 and 6/19, DMF planted over 6,500 eelgrass shoots in Salem Sound. We look forward to monitoring the sites in the coming weeks and months to evaluate success, as well as performing additional plantings. If the Fort Pickering and Woodbury Point plots are both successful, we can expect a total of at least 0.5 acre of new eelgrass habitat to be restored to Salem Sound.

Our special thanks to:

Lucy Indge, Lindsay Beene and the Live Blue Ambassadors from New England Aquarium (Amanda Bartlett, Sabrina Tirachen, Ashley Hamel, Bree-Anna Nicoletti, Rose Fantozzi, Alannah O’Brien, Grace O’Brien, Catie Blair, Clayton Mears, Lucy Fitzgerald)

Barbara Warren, Susan Yochelson and volunteers from Salem Sound Coastwatch (Lynn Atkinson, Dawn Paul, Marilyn McCrory, Susan Purser, Ewa Newman, Albert Levesque, Peter Phippen, Geoffrey Walker, Connor Hilfinger, Vanessa Zendejas)

DMF staff Matt Ayer, Elaine Brewer, Devon Winkler and Chris Wood

Beverly Department of Parks and Recreation

Salem's Winter Island Park staff

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Restoration in Salem Sound: Volunteer Day 6/12/12

With the help of 12 shore-side volunteers from Salem Sound Coastwatch, DMF Eelgrass Project staff successfully planted 4,000 shoots of grass off the beach at Fort Pickering, Winter Island in Salem yesterday.

Volunteers learned about the project background, eelgrass biology and DMF's restoration goals during a training session at Beverly Public Library on Monday night.

On Tuesday 6/12/12, volunteers arrived at Waikiki Beach at Winter Island to get started around 8am. The work area consisted of a large tent shading three work tables, 5 totes filled with cool sea water and bundles of plants harvested on the previous day.

Kate Ostrikis was the beach-side coordinator, demonstrating proper tortilla-weaving techniques, performing quality control, and affixing completed discs to skewers to be sent to the dive team. Volunteers worked until noon to complete approximately 40 discs (each containing 10 plants) per person, reaching our goal of 4,000 plants for the day.

When enough discs were weaved for the first round of planting, DMF divers Wes, Tay, Mark and Jill suited up and laid out the site. Three 1+ hour dives were completed to plant over 400 discs in 5m x5m checkerboard plots at pre-determined intervals along two transect lines. Divers were met with moderate-to-good diving conditions, but realized quickly that fine, silty sediment is a challenge for this planting method since it requires digging up the sediment to plant and back-fill the discs. It's difficult, but doable - and still a fast method considering how many plants were put in the ground per hour (650 plants/buddy team/dive).

We look forward to our next volunteer day on Tuesday 6/19, when the Live Blue Ambassadors group from the N.E. Aquarium will assist us as we plant a site off Woodbury Point, Lynch Park, Beverly. More pics and info to come.