Aerial and Field SAV Observations

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Underwater grasses in Chesapeake Bay continue record growth

April 25th, 2018 · Posted by admin· No Comments

Third straight year with record acreage capped by first-ever 100,000+ acre total
An annual survey led by researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science mapped an estimated 104,843 acres of underwater grasses in Chesapeake Bay in 2017, the highest amount ever recorded and the third consecutive year of record-breaking abundance.

It is also the first time in the history of VIMS’ SAV Monitoring and Restoration Program—established in 1979—that the total abundance of this critical habitat has surpassed 100,000 acres. SAV stands for submerged aquatic vegetation.

The 2017 total is 14,843 acres greater than the Chesapeake Bay Program’s 2017 restoration target and 57 percent of the ultimate restoration goal adopted in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. Notably, a 5 percent increase in underwater grass abundance was observed just from 2016 to 2017.

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Abundance of Chesapeake Bay’s underwater grasses rises 8% in 2016

April 27th, 2017 · Posted by admin· No Comments

An annual survey led by researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science shows the abundance of underwater grasses in Chesapeake Bay increased 8% between 2015 and 2016, continuing an upward trend initiated in 2012.

The increase makes 2016 the second consecutive year since VIMS began its aerial survey in 1984 that the baywide acreage of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) has reached a new high. A total of 97,433 acres of SAV were mapped in Chesapeake Bay during 2016.

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Harris Creek

September 6th, 2016 · Posted by admin· No Comments

Lisa Kellogg (Quads 036, 043)

Here are a couple of photos of the grass up at Harris Creek on August 18th.  We went to great effort to collect this on our new pump intake :)

Here is a photo of one sample that contained grass that gives you a rough estimate of the density.

Unfortunately, the photos of the rest of the samples with grass did not turn out very well. On the whole, the grass seemed less dense in August than it was in May.  But, as you can see from the photos above, there was still grass with flowers and seeds.  We will be going back up to Harris Creek the last week of September.

View the SAV Interactive Map

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“Explosion” of SAV in the Chester River

August 31st, 2016 · Posted by admin· No Comments

Isabel Hardesty (Quads 022, 193)

We have definitely been noticing tons of grasses. We actually just went out yesterday to inspect a reported sighting of “something big and dark in the water” near the Chestertown bridge, and discovered a couple of large, floating mats of Hydrilla.
We also just had a landowner north of the Crumpton bridge report increasing grass beds along their 3,000 foot shoreline over the past 3 years, with an explosion of grasses this year. They have wild celery and hydrilla, with the explosion this year being hydrilla.

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Potomac near DCA

August 22nd, 2016 · Posted by admin· No Comments

Corrine Irwin (Quad 034)

Surveyed the Potomac River from Gravelly Point, along the full perimeter of DCA, through and beyond the Washington Sailing Marina/Dangerfield Island (38.864427, -77.038515 to 38.830060, -77.038029). It was wonderful to see such a thick, lush bed of grasses yesterday!  I’m not sure how far beyond the lat/long I provided it extended. I saw Cd, Ed, Hd, Nm, and Va. Hd was most prevalent, with other species interspersed, and a few dense areas of Va.  Grass bed was dense throughout the area, extending from the shoreline out about 75-100 feet or more.

Zoom to this location on the interactive map.

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Lower James River

August 16th, 2016 · Posted by admin· No Comments

Paul Richardson (Quad 147)

Corey, Casey and I just returned from the James.  The good news is that we’ve recovered 100% of the 3 temperature sensors there.  The other good news is that the grass looks pretty decent adjacent to the north island of the Bridge tunnel.  There is also patchy grass in the areas of the eastern most and western most HOBOs but it was almost absent at the middle sensor, adjacent to Hampton Roads Ave.

The bad news is that all sites beyond the bridges in Mill Creek had patches of Gracilaria macroalgae with no evidence of grass at the four locations that we checked along this area.  Exact locations are noted on a map that I have here.  We did, however, check the bed to the left of the scallop boats where there was some grass mixed with Gracilaria.

Also, we saw a pod of dolphins in Mill Creek, so for Casey’s last day in the field for the season, it was an overall success!

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Gibson Island

August 16th, 2016 · Posted by admin· No Comments

Mark Lewandowski (Quad 024)

Dave Harp, Mike Norman and I went to monitor our restoration sites yesterday, and found a lot of grass.  I threw together a few slides.


These are roughly the areas we seeded.

This is where we observed SAV yesterday.  The smaller polygon at the top had mostly milfoil 80%, the rest was elodea, some redhead with a very tiny amount of ruppia.  We planted redhead and ruppia seeds in this area.


This is a zoom in on the larger beds.  The left polygon was 70% redhead, 25% ruppia, with a small amount of elodea.  The redhead and elodea looked as though it had been established for a while(dense, thick roots and stems, very fouled), but ruppia was very green and vibrant.  The two overlapping polygons to the right were very dense.  Where they overlap was all milfoil.  The rest is ruppia, redhead and elodea again.

We will be back there in a few weeks to do a more thorough monitoring.

Zoom to this location in the interactive map

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Eastern Neck Area

August 11th, 2016 · Posted by admin· No Comments

Terry Willis (Quad 009, 015, 021, 026)

This season’s growth along the bayside of Eastern Neck has been good, with extremely dense beds along the shoreline, beginning north of Tubby Cove and extending into Calf Pasture Cove.  Shipyard Creek also is well covered (acres-mostly milfoil, but with wigeon grass also) but a late June trip through Durding Creek was mostly barren.  Have not been to Church or Hail Creeks yet.  There has also been good growth in Rock Hall Harbor and in Swan Creek along the southern shore in and amongst the marinas.  Mostly millfoil.  Fairlee Creek also has some small patches around the docks at Great Oak Marina-milfoil with some wild celery thrown in (the wild celery has been there the past two seasons).

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Miles River Observations

June 10th, 2016 · Posted by admin· No Comments

Drew Koslow (Quad 037)

I was out on my standup paddle board Friday, June 10, during dead low tide and saw a huge bed extending from the mouth of Oak Creek to the North. Wherever there was grass the density was 100% but there are occasional patches without grass. Overall density is about 80%.

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Smith Island Observations, June 2016

June 6th, 2016 · Posted by admin· No Comments

Brooke Landry

The SAV in Smith Island usually looks pretty healthy, but they looked even better than usual last week. No epiphytes and bright bright green. Zostera and Ruppia!

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