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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.

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.


  1. For more info about the burlap disk transplanting method and to learn about eelgrass restoration projects that the Cornell Cooperative Extension is doing on Long Island, please go to the Marine Meadows Facebook page below.