Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Red Cedar Bluff Restoration Site

On April 23, 2008 Kim and I did a first recon dive of the Red Cedar Bluff restoration site located in western Great Peconic Bay near Squire Pond, Southampton. This one acre transplant site, funded by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, involved planting adult shoots gathered from various Peconic Estuary site in groups of 8-12 on 1m centers throughout the entire site.

The first transplant work at this site was initiated in 2006 when we established multiple 1m circular plots (perpendicular to shore) across the depth contours to target the most appropriate planting depth. Within the first growing season we lost the two shallowest and one of the deeper plots leaving behind two mid-depth stations. Eventually, the shallower of these also succumbed to disturbance from crabs and was lost.

I have to say that it is not unusual to lose most of these plots, or at least the shallow and deep stations as our intention is to push the limits of water depth and light penetration in the deep stations and physical disturbance and exposure in the shallow stations. If we don't lose at least the shallowest and deepest stations than we haven't successfully tested the limits of this site!

Once we got in the water it was nice to see that one of the original plots (see top photo) was still intact and looked very good indicating that water quality is still sufficient here to support grass. Based on the "long-term" (2 yrs.) survival of this initial planting we are fairly confident that the large-scale effort will succeed.

During our dive, we were happy to see that most of the clumped plantings had survived this past winter and appeared to be thriving (above right). A few clumps were missing among the hundreds, but this is not a concern. Mud snails could be seen laying bending over the shoots and laying eggs, but this is typical for this time of year. In another couple weeks the eggs should hatch and there should be few egg cases to be found. As always, we like to see the snails at our sites as they are key to grazing epiphytes off the leaves and maximizing light to the plants.


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