Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Next Phase for Eelgrass Monitoring

Save The Bay will be conducting it's 10th year of eelgrass transplants this summer and will be moving the program into a new phase of monitoring and water quality advocacy efforts. Large scale transplants will end this year until water quality in the upper bay has recovered enough to allow long term survival of plants. Test transplants will continue as a way to monitor water quality and the ability of various locations to support larger scale restoration.

Test transplants have been a part of every summer's efforts, and the viable locations have been planted with larger beds that have survived. Areas north of Prudence Island, including Greenwich Bay, have not been successful test locations. Greenwich Bay once had many acres of eelgrass resources, but test transplants there have not lived more than two months due to high levels of nutrients which create algae blooms and problems with water clarity.

Along with our test transplants, Save The Bay will continue to advocate for water quality improvements in the upper bay, including imposing nitrogen limits on wastewater treatment facilities. Several recent victories will have a big impact on Bay water quality, including the completion of Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) tunnels in both Providence and Fall River, and the building of cooling towers at the Brayton Point power station. We are also supporting efforts by communities and the state to clean up pollution from cesspools and septic tanks.

If you haven't come out to experience an eelgrass harvest for yourself, make this the year! Please sign up early because there are only two sessions this year and spots will fill up fast. Harvest dates will be June 10th and 11th at King's Beach in Newport and June 24th and 25th at Fort Getty in Jamestown. Contact Stephany Hessler for more information. Also, view last year's results.