Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Fall season is in full swing…

Although most people assume that our busiest season is summer they couldn’t be further from the truth. We’re out in the boat a lot during the summer given the great weather, but fall is when most of the real important work takes place. Unfortunately, fickle weather patterns including heavy winds from the northwest keep us in the office more than we would like during this time of year. As a result, we have more work to do than days to do it in and we must take advantage of every field day possible. It is not unusual for me to hold off scheduling meetings until I look at the weather forecast for the week.

Although the fall brings us cold air temps the water takes some time to drop. This change is really tied into colder nights that inch the mercury downward day by day. The opposite is true in the spring when the air gets warmer faster than the water. It’s that whole heat capacity thing that I don’t want to get into now…

One big advantage of working in the fall is that the water clarity (vis) really improves. The algae all seem to take a break for the season and do not bloom. This is less than ideal for our filter feeders like shellfish and perfect for those of us who want to see past our noses while diving. This added light is also critical for the grass as we observe a nice little growth spurt in fall as lateral shoots emerge.

During fall we complete our monitoring for the various test planting sites and we summarize the results of our large-scale restoration projects. If the planting has suffered losses over summer we sometimes observe slight increases in shoot density by November or December. It’s not that the shoots get any larger, actually they get smaller, but what we want to see is more of them. For the some projects we may even replant.

Another advantage of the colder temps is that the crabs slow a little and tend to cause less damage to our plots. Unfortunately, most of the damage has already taken place during the summer, but this is helps to protect our new plantings. This is especially true in January, but this frigid water even slows us down!

This year, we don’t have an overly eventful fall. We just have a few projects to complete before January. Planting sites include Caumsett State Park in Long Island Sound (LIS), Great Gull Island (LIS), Jamaica Bay, NYC and several areas along the north fork. I always like to add at least a couple new test plots and we are still figuring out which ones we will use this year.

Soon we will be breaking out our dry suits. For now I can still dive wet…



Anonymous said...

Hey Chris,
Is there a way to include photo captions?
Laura Stephenson

Chris said...

Hey Laura,
You make a good point, I was actually thinking about it for my previous post, but I didn't do it. I know it would be very helpful. It is just a question of whether I put the caption on the photo or below it in some way. I will have to look into it more and see if I can do it within Blogger.