Wednesday, September 10, 2008

LIS Sites Look Great!

After the summer peak in water temperature (typically during the beginning of August) we always like to get out and do one final site assessment at all of our restoration sites before we plan out our upcoming fall/winter planting season. Based on the major environmental differences within and between our estuaries we make detailed site-specific observations and, in some cases, can group sites by estuary. This is definitely the case for our eastern Long Island Sound sites, funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, where planting and growth conditions are optimal.

Last week, Steve and Kim had a chance to check on St. Thomas and Terry Points while I was on vacation. (See my spring posts for these sites here: Terry & St. Thomas) We were especially interested in the status of Terry Pt. as the crew had added plantings here in June. We were hoping that this site would react as it has in past years where we have conducted early summer plantings with great success.

The vis was obviously not as good as in the spring, but as you can see from the first two shots (above and the close up of the sheaths), the plants at Terry Pt. look VERY good. The crew reported that densities in this created meadow appear higher than we have ever observed in either natural or planted grass in the Sound. Follow up shoot counts should confirm this. There is something about the combination of water quality, water depth and bottom type that seem to support incredible plant growth here.

The report from St. Thomas, the site of our largest restoration effort to date, was similarly good with healthy growth observed throughout the area. The deeper water and high currents here often make it difficult for divers to get around and figure out where they are, but a series of large boulders on the shore help us to navigate the 2-acre site.

Given the long standing growth, expansion and stability of these plantings I am confident that they will last well beyond their upcoming 5-year anniversary…


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