Eelgrass - Zostera marina
If you want fish, scallops and lobsters, protect eelgrass!
Eelgrass - Zostera marina - is one of our most valuable marine habitats found in the Northeast, and we have the large eelgrass meadows right in our front yard--off the Beverly and Manchester coast.
Protecting eelgrass is critical for Salem Sound's ecological health.
The Role of Eelgrass
Eelgrass creates a highly productive ecosystem and is important:
- Play a key role in nutrient cycling
- Provide food and shelter for fish and invertebrates
- Provide critical habitat for commercially important finfish and shellfish species
- Dampen wave energy, reducing beach erosion
Predominantly growing in sandy sediments in shallow embayments, estuaries, tidal creeks and shallow coastal waters, eelgrass is threatened by excessive nutrients (eutrophication) and turbid waters that limit the available light for the plant growth. Boating and fishing activities can destroy eelgrass beds by stirring up the sediments and actually pulling out the eelgrass. Salem Harbor has lost approximately 70% of its historic resources, while the meadows off Beverly and Manchester are relatively stable. (see maps)
What Can WE Do to protect eelgrass beds?
- Start in your own backyard - Minimize use of fertilizer and use only organic fertilizers. Learn more about Greenscapes.
- Keep it clean - Buy environmentally friendly cleaners and dispose of hazardous materials properly.
- Be septic savvy – Be sure your septic system is functioning properly.
- Be a responsible boater - Avoid anchoring in eelgrass beds, lift your motor when passing over a bed, always discharge waste at a pump out station, and use eelgrass friendly moorings.
- Get involved! - Lobby representatives to support legislation to improve water quality.
- Show your support/ Become a Volunteer!
- Support SSCW. Help us to protect and restore marine habitats.
Salem Sound Coastwatch Brings Attention to Local Eelgrass:“Eelgrass—Our Very Own Coastal Treasure”
March 30, 2009, four scientists joined with SSCW to share their local knowledge of eelgrass. VIEW EELGRASS Presentations:
Introduction to Eelgrass: what it is, its value and functions - Sue Tuxbury is a fishery biologist in the Habitat Conservation Division of NOAA Fisheries. Previously Sue worked for SAVE the BAY on eelgrass restoration in Narragansett Bay. Got Eelgrass? Zostera marina in New England 1.4MB
Eelgrass in Salem Sound: past, recent, present plus threats to eelgrass
- Robert Buchsbaum is a member of SSCW Board of Directors and a conservation scientist with Mass Audubon. Robert’s PhD. is in Marine Ecology from Boston University Marine Program Woods Hole. Robert was a volunteer SCUBA diver in 1997 when the Division of Marine Fisheries did surveys to compare fish in eelgrass beds versus bare areas in Salem Sound. Robert’s research includes nutrient cycling in coastal marine habitats, the decline of seagrasses along the Massachusetts coast.
Eelgrass in Salem Sound: Abundance and Values 9.2MB
Eelgrass Habitat Monitoring and Conservation in Salem Sound -
Tay Evans is a Marine Fisheries Biologist with Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries working as an eelgrass biologist and "environmental review coordinator" for fisheries. She is conducting SeagrassNET monitoring at West Beach, Beverly.
Eelgrass Habitat Monitoring and Conservation in Salem Sound 2MB
Eelgrass protection, mitigation and restoration - Phil Colarusso is a marine biologist at EPA and a member of the EPA dive team. He has a PhD. at Northeastern on the study of carbon metabolism of eelgrass and a MS. from UMASS Boston studying how green crabs metabolized PAHs.
Eelgrass Protection, Mitigation and Restoration 567KB
Spotlight on Eelgrass A Species and Habitat at Risk - MA CZM
EELGRASS HABITAT RESTORATION IN THE ANNISQUAM RIVER
Status, Trends, and Conservation of Eelgrass in Atlantic Canada and the Northeastern United States February 24-25, 2009 Workshop Presentations on the Gulf of Maine Council