Aerial and Field SAV Observations

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August update on SAV in St. Mary’s River

August 12th, 2014 · Posted by admin· No Comments

Chris Tanner, SMCM (Quads 080)
I paddled from St. Mary’s College south, surveying shore from north of Chancellors Point, around Rosecroft Point, across to Windmill Point and along parts of the western shore back to the college. While not nearly as much SAV as in 2013 (as shown in the Google Earth image) there was widgeon grass from just southeast of Chancellors Point (see yellow marker) around Rosecroft Point to at least the area indicated by the green marker. The distribution was patchy and in shallow water (mostly 0.25 to 0.5 m MLW) but with deeper patches southeast of Chancellors Point. Plants with flowering shoots were largely in the shallower patches. The red markers indicate the location of the largest clump of flowering shoots. I did not see SAV at Windmill Point or along the western shore of the upper river. There was widgeon grass drifting with the tides and in the wrack around Chancellors Point, although not as much as I typically see this time of year.

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Thick SAV near Smith Island

August 7th, 2014 · Posted by admin· No Comments

Lee Karrh, MD-DNR (Quad 091)

We were out surveying around Smith Island Monday and Tuesday.  The widgeon grass was amazingly thick in Lightning Knot and Back Coves, with excellent water clarity.  At Fog Point, the eelgrass looked good in that bed on the northern Kedges Strait side of the Island.

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No SAV in St. Mary’s River

July 29th, 2014 · Posted by admin· No Comments

Lee Karrh, MD-DNR (Quad 080, 089)

Yesterday, we found virtually no SAV on the St. Mary’s.  We visited Windmill Point, Cherryfield Point, and many areas along the St. George Creek side of St. George Island.  Places that last year had abundant widgeon grass are now bare bottom. Brooke found one tiny area with a few sprigs at Windmill Point.  Becky noted that the ConMon data did show that the creek has been more turbid of late.

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Widgeon Grass near Cedar Island

July 25th, 2014 · Posted by admin· No Comments

Ken Schultz (Quads 100, 101)

I’ve encountered large amounts of SAV on two successive trips in the Bay this week, both in the same area of Maryland. This is around Cedar Island, in Fishing Creek, and Crooked Creek and that general vicinity, just north, northeast of Great Fox Island. Dense stands of widgeon grass, coming almost to the surface (the water is clear) on high tide in some places.

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Abundance of Chesapeake Bay’s underwater grasses rises 24% in 2013

April 23rd, 2014 · Posted by admin· No Comments

Widgeongrass expands in mid-Bay, eelgrass sees modest recovery

An annual survey led by researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science shows that the abundance of underwater grasses in Chesapeake Bay increased 24% between 2012 and 2013, reversing the downward trend of the previous 3 years. The increase reflects an upsurge from 48,195 acres to 59,927 acres.

Read more about the 2013 survey results…

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More Eelgrass in South Bay

April 3rd, 2014 · Posted by Robert Orth· No Comments

Earlier I mentioned that as were mapping the South Bay bed from the 2013 photos we were stuck by the large number of ‘dark specks’ on the photos in an area at the south end of South Bay which we had not mapped yet.  These specks were in an area adjacent to an area we had been mapping and had been confirmed as grass.  The specks looked like grass patches as when we examined 2 sets of photos, one taken in Oct and the other in Nov., many of these specks present in Oct. were still there in Nov. When we created the polygon the area was around 450 acres which would be a significant increase to that Bay.

So yesterday, Corey, Barry and I checked out a number of spots in that polygon (see image on right) to confirm what we suspected were grass patches. And sure enough every spot we checked was eelgrass!! Patches ranged from small ones of 10-20 cm in diameter to large ones, maybe up to 2 m in diameter. In several places the patches were dense perhaps covering 25% of the area but in general the area will be mapped as cover class 1.  The plants were short (remember water temperatures have been below 10C so far) but shoot densities were high and almost all had flowering shoots meaning they were at least 2 years old, and some maybe 3 or 4 years old.  I also noticed a lot of seedlings in each area. What surprised me is that in one area (spot #2) we motored all the way west to the marsh edge on Mockhorn Isl. and noted many patches that most likely were 2 years old but because they were so sparse will not be seen in the photos.  And these were in an area that I thought we may not see eelgrass because of some macroalgal issues we have noted before.

These observations are significant in light of the fact that last year, the spring was incredibly windy and water clarity was terrible and had prevented us from getting out photographs last spring.  Yet these plants made it through last year and again many were at least 3 years old based on their size.

So the bottom line is that this South Bay bed continues to spread and expand which hopefully bodes well for our scallop work.

Last, yesterday was absolutely beautiful – warm and clear skies!  The water cleared up as the tide dropped and we could see all these patches very easily from the boat. The spread of patches in some areas was truly amazing! This was a great way to start the field season!  It was hard to leave and head back home.

Cheers

JJ

PS – I even saw a redfish in about  a foot of water although Barry did not believe me – I think he was jealous because he did not see it himself!

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Hart-Miller Island SAV September 2013 Survey

September 18th, 2013 · Posted by rgriner· No Comments

 

Maryland Environmental Service (MES) Environmental Staff conducted an SAV survey along the western side of Hart-Miller Island (HMI) on September 13, 2013.  HMI is located at the mouth of Back River near Hawk Cove in Baltimore County.  Observations were made along two 3 mile transects 20 ft. and 50 ft. off of the western shoreline where water depths are shallow enough to support SAV growth, specifically from the most southern tip of the Hart Island remnant to the southern end of the Miller Island remnant.  The SAV beds were mainly observed by using a modified thatch rake, attached to approximately 15 yards of nylon rope, off of a boat.  Transects are split from southern tip of Hart Island to MES pier, MES pier to Drum Point, Drum Point to just south of the HMI DNR Start Park beach jetty, beach Jetty 1 through 14, and just north of the beach jetties to the southern end of Miller island. 

 

The observed bay grasses in the September 2013 survey declined significantly compared to previous years.  Only one species, wild celery (Vallisneria americana) was identified and was found in sparse beds between the beach jetties and toward the end of Millers Island. The wild celery abundance increased slightly from the June 2013 survey.

 

The average Secchi depth during the September survey was 1.29 ft.  The majority of SAV was observed between the jetties.  Water depth ranged from 1.2 ft. to 5.6 ft.  Overall estimated coverage of SAV in the area surveyed was 10%.

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Hart-Miller Island SAV June 2013 Survey

August 13th, 2013 · Posted by rgriner· No Comments

Maryland Environmental Service (MES) Environmental Staff conducted an SAV survey along the western side of Hart-Miller Island (HMI) on June 27, 2013.  HMI is located at the mouth of Back River near Hawk Cove in Baltimore County.  Observations were made along two 3 mile transects 20 ft. and 50 ft. off of the western shoreline where water depths are shallow enough to support SAV growth, specifically from the most southern tip of the Hart Island remnant to the southern end of the Miller Island remnant.  The SAV beds were mainly observed by using a modified thatch rake, attached to approximately 15 yards of nylon rope, off of a boat.  Transects are split from southern tip of Hart Island to MES pier, MES pier to Drum Point, Drum Point to just south of the HMI DNR Start Park beach jetty, beach Jetty 1 through 14, and just north of the beach jetties to the southern end of Miller island. 

 

 The observed bay grasses in the June 2013 survey declined significantly compared to previous years.  Only two species wild celery (Vallisneria americana) and curly pondweed (Potamogeton crispus) were identified. Wild celery was more abundant and on average was found in sparse beds between the beach jetties and toward the end of Millers Island.  Curly pondweed was noted in very sparse beds between the beach jetties. 

 

The average Secchi depth during the June survey was 1.6 ft.  The majority of SAV was observed between the jetties.  Water depth ranged from 3.0 ft. to 7+ ft.  Overall estimated coverage of SAV in the area surveyed was 5 %.

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Ruppia in Cherrystone Inlet

August 5th, 2013 · Posted by admin· No Comments

Anna Murphy (Quad 133)

We checked out three sites in Cherrystone last week. The site on the southern side of the creek had small patches of ruppia, ~1m in diameter. The site closer to the mouth on the north side was the most dense site, with 100% coverage, all the way up to the surface at probably a meter deep.  The northwest site was patchy.

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SAV on the Susquehanna Flats

July 31st, 2013 · Posted by admin· No Comments

Cassie Gurbisz, UMCES (Quad 003, 009)

We’ve been up to the Flats quite a bit this summer–most recently yesterday. The water clarity seems to be very good inside the bed. It looks like the plants are doing pretty well. It’s hard to say whether it is better than last year across such a huge area but I did notice that the layer of highly resuspendible material (which we assume was left-over from Tropical Storm Lee) that made plant sampling difficult last year is not there this year. There doesn’t seem to be as much filamentous macroalgae around the DNR sensor site but some other parts of the Flats have patchy areas of algae cover where there wasn’t last year. It seems like the plants are following more or less the same growth pattern as last year–fairly sparse in June and still not quite peak biomass as of yesterday.

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