On April 30th we checked on the status of our seeding effort in Noyack Creek. This project is part of a Peconic Estuary Program Eelgrass Restoration initiative (North Haven Project). Last December Kim, Ali and I broadcast approximately 60,000 seeds (see photo below) in an area on the NE side of the creek where grass most recently occurred. This dive was MY first check on the seedling recruitment here; Steve and Kim had confirmed there were seedlings and deployed a temperature logger on April 17, but I had to see for myself.
I was happy to see that the seedlings were still there and was able to get a few good pics with my hand in the shot for scale. The seedlings were a little smaller than I expected, but they looked good and didn't have too many mud snail eggs attached. As usual the distribution was VERY patchy and there were areas with large numbers of seedlings and areas with no seedlings between the buoys we had set out to mark the site last year.
We will be closely monitoring the seedlings to see how they progress through the spring and into summer. I have concerns that they may die as the water temperature increases and dissolved oxygen levels decrease at the sediment surface at the VERY muddy site. Noyack Creek is a model for other creeks in the Peconic Estuary and if we can figure out how to get the grass re-established here, we might be able to make headway in other similar creeks. We might have to think about manipulating the sediment texture/organic matter.
Stay tuned for some ideas I have about this...