Peter Bergstrom, NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office
(1) Marshy Creek off Kent Narrows, between Chester River and Eastern Bay, 8/19/08 (VIMS quad 33)
The wild celery we planted on NOAA Restoration Day (June 2) is growing to the surface in several parts of the fenced area in Marshy Creek at CBEC, and there’s quite a bit growing in between those visible shoots, visible only with a view scope. The long, narrow rectangle that I laid out makes it easy to check the plants without having to open the fence and walk inside. I estimated about 50% of the fenced area was covered with wild celery, about the same as right after we planted, but I think many of the plants are taller than they were when we planted. Some redhead grass was growing inside the fenced area (about 20% of the area) but there did not seem to be enough to crowd out the wild celery. There was one sea nettle inside the fence and a few outside. See attached photos (1 2 3) from today. This is the best success (after 2.5 months) of any of the small scale SAV planting projects we’ve done as part of NOAA Restoration Day, done annually since 2004.
The Secchi depth was poor (0.3 m) but the redhead grass in the same cove was also doing well, with a bit of widgeongrass. I was quite surprised that I could see any wild celery with the Secchi depth that low. I did not have my refractometer but the continuous monitor in Eastern/Prospect Bay just south of CBEC is running about 10.5 ppt near the bottom (CBEC graph) which should be near the upper salinity range for wild celery.
(2) Upper Magothy River (Browns Cove, mouth of Cypress Creek), 8/19/08 (VIMS quad 23)
We planted wild celery grown from seeds from the same batch as those used at CBEC in the upper Magothy River on June 23. When I checked them today, about 2 months after planting, the salinity was a bit lower than at CBEC (about 9 ppt based on nearby data from last Sat.) and the Secchi depth better (0.7 m), but the plants are not doing well in Browns Cove. I could only find 4 small clumps of very short plants covering only about 5% of the fenced area. This was a big drop since my last check of these plants on 7/7/08, 2 weeks after planting, when most of the plants were still visible, with about 45% of the fenced area covered.
This is much worse short-term survival than we had planting wild celery farther up the Magothy near the mouth of Cockey Creek in 2006 and 2007. Only a few shoots of wild celery are left from those earlier plantings in 2008, however. I was hoping for better survival in 2008 by moving downriver to Browns Cove, since clarity is usually better downriver, but we got worse survival instead.
There were two differences between the Marshy Creek and Browns Cove plantings. The plants at Marshy Creek were acclimated with instant ocean to about 5 ppt in their tanks about a week before they were planted, but this was not done with the Magothy plants since the salinity is a bit lower there. The other difference is that only Marshy Creek has other SAV growing nearby (in the same cove); the closest Magothy SAV to Browns Cove is about 1.5 km (0.9 mi) downriver at South Ferry Point (where some wild celery grows), and only patchy milfoil has been found in Browns Cove in recent years.