Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rock Planting 101…

Rock planting is a simple and effective way of establishing eelgrass in high energy rocky environments. It all starts with selecting the perfect site…Once you have that, you’re half way there! Obviously, it is not always easy to find these sites and that is the real challenge. I couldn’t possibly cover all that goes into the site selection process in a blog post, so I won’t even try. We’ll just assume for now that you have such a site.

The following photos are from our field work yesterday off of Great Gull Island where we have initiated a large-scale planting effort based on the success of our test plantings. These are the steps we take following collection of the donor plants from a suitable location. Again, this will not be covered in this post.

Step1. Chose your weapon! I prefer that old fashioned crow bar (above) while others on the crew use l

arge screwdrivers or short sections of rebar.

Step 2. Flip the rocks in preparation for planting.

Step 3. Place the plants in groups of 6 to 12.

Step 3a. Plant in groups…to speed coalescence. 1 meter OC spacing is ideal if there are enough rocks.

Step 4. Monitor. The plantings should look like this after a couple months. Notice how the shoots are growing away from the rock they were planted under. (same site, but from a previous planting).

Step 4a. Monitor more!…Eventually the rocks disappear as they get buried under sand and gravel that accumulates as the eelgrass shoot density increases. The plantings should like this after about three years! (different site same method).


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Two out of three ain’t bad!

The weather this week has allowed us to get back out in the field once again as the season races towards winter…we need a few more good weeks to finish out or field work!

On Monday Kim, Ali and I were able to get out to Plum Island and check on the status of plantings there. The story was mostly good with a little bit of not so great news.

I’ll begin with the not so good news…

Our plantings off of Fort Terry on Plum Island (south side of the island) were looking quite battered and beaten from the heavy winds and storms we had over the last week or so (above). It still amazes me that there can be so much erosion and scouring to the bottom in 12 feet of water! I can’t imagine what the waves must have been like! We do still have plenty of plants here, but we lost many and those that remain appear pretty battered. There was also some burial as sand waves passed through the planting area. On another note, we still haven’t been able to find the temperature logger that was attached to a half cement block that was washed away during one of the last storms…maybe this site is too energetic. We are not planning any more plantings this year and instead we will just watch and wait to see how the plants fair through the winter. I REALLY want this site to work as it has so much potential for large-scale planting. For now, I will cross my fingers!

Now onto the good news…

After Fort Terry, we headed east to the north side of Great Gull Island and although the waves were very heavy and the vis was poor, we were could see that the plants looked great here (above). Everywhere I looked, there seemed to be groups of emerald green plants. This year we have really focused on planting in tighter groupings to speed coalescence and I think this is will pay off in the end. At past rock planting sites it has taken approximately three years for coalescence to occur, but I’m hoping that with this spacing this will begin to happen within the second growing season. Then again, we will get less bang for our buck per planting unit, but we’ll see how this works…we can always go back to the original method.

At Great Gull, there was no indication of damage or loss and we even had a few Lacuna egg masses visible on the blades…a good sign. I fully expect this site to fair as well as our plantings on the south side of the island that are doing incredibly well at this point after three years…

Once back in the boat we headed west to the north side of Plum Island to visit the Radiator Beach site, the deepest of our plantings this season (top photo). Here again we were happy to find the plantings doing very well with no signs of loss or damage even at our deepest stations below 20ft! Some of the plants here were shorter than the last time we visited, but this is just the winter growth habit taking over as the temperature drops and the water clarity increases.

Today, we’ll be splitting into two teams: My team, including Neal and Ali will be planting more plants at Great Gull while Steve and Kim will be monitoring the recovery of the natural meadow at Orient Point. We also hope to get in tomorrow and we have a big day planned for Friday with visits to points west in LIS.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Waiting for the wind to die

The wind has the team office-bound today, but we expect to get out to plant our site off the north shore of Plum Island, LIS on Friday. Today’s forecast called for sustained winds of 20-25knots with gusts in the 40’s! Based on the shuddering sound the greenhouse is making, the weatherman got this one right.

Yesterday we did a little recon monitoring and sediment sample collection at three restoration sites including the north and south sides of Great Gull Island as well as at the Plum Island site (north side or Radiator Beach).

All three sites looked great with the south side of Gull Island still looking amazing (top). The plants here are filling in nicely on their own. We may want to add more plants further down the shore to enlarge the meadow, but we can also just sit back and let nature take its course. I think we will probably speed up the process by adding more plants to the east.

The north side of Gull Island (above), the newest of our plantings, is still looking very good. It is too early to know whether or not these plants will fair as well as their south-side neighbors, but I think they will do fine. The fact that this site is exposed to NW winds means that it will take more pounding, however. Because of this, I do expect to experience greater losses here, but once the plants are firmly established, they should do fine.

As a follow up to our September 22nd visit, the Plum Island test plants (above) still look very good. I don’t think we have lost any shoots recently; everything looked as it did on the 22nd. Based on this success, we are expanding our work here out into deeper water. Yesterday’s observations indicated that the 17’ plantings still look the best so we will definitely plant out to 20 or 22 feet when we get back on the water this Friday.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Planting Deep!

Yesterday was our second follow-up visit to our site off the north shore of Plum Island. These plantings are part of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Eastern Long Island Sound Eelgrass Restoration project.

This project involves plantings on the north side of Great Gull Island, Plum Island and several test plantings along the north shore of the north fork. At this point all initial test plantings have been completed and we are just making our final observations before making plans for the fall planting season when we will begin full-scale restoration plantings.

Great Gull Island already received pilot plantings this summer and we have decided, based on the success of this work, that this will be the focus of full-scale restoration beginning this month. Plum Island also received pilot plantings, but later than the Gull Island site and we had not been able to effectively determine how successful the site was until yesterday.

It is interesting to note that the Plum Island plantings are different from most of our other Long Island Sound sites in that there are no rocks to plant under despite the exposed conditions. As a result, we had to come up with another method of planting here. I am not prepared to discuss this method yet as it has not been fully tested, but it appears that this method is as effective, if not more effective than the rocks and can be used on any type of bottom. As an aside we expect to describe this method at some point in the future.

Another interesting aspect of the Plum Island site is that we had to plant so deep given the northern exposure. At other sites in the Sound, we have planted in 8 to 12ft of water while here we planted from 10 to 17ft. As usual we look to spread our test plantings along a gradient from shallow to deep expecting to lose the shallow plots to scouring and the deep plots to light limitation.

Soon after our planting we got our wish when the shallow plots were completely wiped out by a hurricane. The waves were so heavy here that they exposed up to a foot of new profile on several nearby boulders! Our plants didn't stand a chance... The good news was, however, that our deeper stations survived with no impact.

Yesterday, we returned for a final visit of the monitornig season to find the 12, 15 and 17ft depth plots still growing very well. So, we will now put this site on the long list of scale-up sites for this fall and winter. What is most interesting about this site is the fact that we might be able to plant even deeper since the deepest plots are showing no signs of light limitation. In fact, the plants in 17ft look even better than those at the 12ft depth since they have a lower epiphyte load.

When we come back to add more plants we will likely extend several plots deeper than the 17ft. It in interesting to note that there are natural eelgrass meadows off the north side of Fishers Island that go down to almost 25ft so we may be able to go to at least 20ft at Plum Island. Imagine that!

I'm very excited about this site and I look forward to continued work here. Hopefully, we can make history as the deepest restoration site on record in the region.

As usual, stay tuned for additional news on this site and thanks again to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for funding this project!


Monday, August 31, 2009

Thanks Hurricane Billy!

Yes...I am being facetious!

Although we're already a couple named storms past Billy (Danny most recently), we hadn't had a chance to check on a number of our test plots that were in his path. Today was our day to catch up. We wanted to determine what if any impact the hurricane had and decide on which of our plantings we will scale-up this fall.

So the good news is...most everything was in pretty good shape. The bad news was that it took us much longer than it should have to check on the plots since the heavy surf had moved all of our marker buoys off Plum Island more than 100 feet from their original location making it hard to find our plantings. Also, once they were found, we had to drag the buoys and cement blocks back to their original locations. We also lost a temperature logger that was attached to a cement block at one site. I think we may eventually be able to find this if we follow the trajectory the buoys and blocks took. It is amazing to think that the storm was able to move full sized cement blocks in 10-12ft of water! Fortunately, most of the plants remained in the bottom.

Although we didn't visit the site today, we did have one fatality from Billy that we noted last week. Test plots along the east side of Cartwright Shoal (not shown here) off the south shore of Gardiners Island were totally obliterated in the storm. I had high hopes for this site, but the storm changed all of that and I don't see us going back. We planting on the SE side of the shoal hoping to avoid the prevailing NW in the winter, but I hadn't planned on a storm from the NE that destroyed everything. Oh well, that's why to do test plantings before investing the time and money into large-scale plantings.

The best news today was that both Plum Island planting sites (top and left) weathered the storm. We did have some loss and damage, but all and all, the plantings made it through and we are on our way to large-scale plantings this fall. Not surprisingly, the deeper ~12ft plants looked the best, but we even had survival at the 8ft depth of the shallow station. We had assumed that the shallow plants would have been smothered or eroded. It turned out they were buried in sand, but not enough to completely cover them.

In the Sound we did see some damage at our Duck Pond Point site in Peconic, but the Horton's Point, 67 steps and Rocky Point sites all showed no sign of storm damage and look like good candidates for full-scale plantings. We will not be planting any more this fall at Duck Pond Point, but the other sites will definitely get more attention. Horton's Point (above right) and 67 steps, in particular, look to be very good candidates for full scale plantings. If Duck Pond Point makes it through the winter, it too may become a large-scale planting site.

Let the plantings begin...


Monday, August 17, 2009

Too much of a good thing?

On days like today there is no excuse for not getting out in the field. Although we were down two staff, it was still possible for Kim and I to get out and do what we needed to do. It was either that or stay in the office and catch up on paperwork (me) and webpage updates (Kim).

With a skeleton crew there was only so much that we can do efficiently so I decided we would focus on scouting for new planting sites around Plum Island that we have been trying to complete for the last few weeks and monitoring some older test planting sites in the area.

After a quick call to the homeland security folks on Plum Island we were on our way to visit the cool, deep and high velocity waters of eastern LIS. I won't go into any detail here, but suffice it to say that our scouting was a success and we did find at least one promising looking site on the north side of the Plum Island. This matches up with some earlier observations from April or May. I would have to look back and check the date, but it doesn't matter at this point. We may be planting this site as soon as tomorrow, weather and staff permitting.

The other, and frankly more interesting part of our day, was to monitor some test plantings from this summer. If things make it through August, we can usually be assured that water quality and temperature are not limiting. It's too early to determine if disturbance will be limiting, as this kicks in in the fall and winter, but if the plants don't make it through the summer, there is nothing to monitor and no potential for success, so we have to start somewhere.

Our sites today included two sites on the south side of Plum Island and one on the north side of Great Gull Island. The first two are part of our Suffolk County Eelgrass Restoration Initiative and the third is part of our National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Long Island Sound restoration project. As always, we couldn't do any of this work without the generous support of our funding partners!

First, I have to say that the plants looked great at both sites and it looks like we have some very promising large-scale planting candidates for the coming fall, but we did make one interesting observation. There we incredible numbers of Lacuna vincta snails on many of the plants. I'm not talking about normal numbers, but what appeared to be overwhelming numbers. We like these snails and actually will move them to a completely unvegetated site (one that has no algae to act as an alternative host for these grazers) to help clean off the epiphytes and biofilm on transplants (we're just about to do this for some plantings near Duck Pond Point in LIS), but these were almost at an alarming density.

I don't think this is a bad thing at all, but these little guys were definitely causing some grazing damage to the leaves and sheaths of many of the plants. I do remember seeing a fairly high density on some plants early on at our St. Thomas Pt. restoration site where we have had considerable success so maybe this is just the way it always is during this time of year and I just missed it..or maybe the crazy weather this year has spawned a bumper crop of snails...who knows? I will have to look back at the photos to see what time of year this occurred, however. (Editors Note: I did take a look back at shots from a couple other restoration sites over the years and, in fact, August showed the peak density for Lacuna snails. Some plants appeared to have densities rivaling those seen in the pictures here, but it still seems that we're a little higher this year than in previous years. Also, there was very little, if any, indication of heavy herbivory damage in these earlier photos from other LIS planting sites.)

It is also possible that when the eelgrass is at a low density and there are a large number of snails on the nearby macroalgae, the snails may prefer the eelgrass and leave the algae to preferentially feed on the eelgrass epiphytes and, yes, the leaf tissue! Since there are so few eelgrass plants, the snail density reaches what appears to be a saturation point on many of the plants.

If this is the case what is causing it? I just don't know right now. However, I still believe that the presence of snails, even at these very high densities, are better than no snails. At the Duck Pond Point site in LIS, there is no macroalgae and therefore no snails except for a couple that came along for the ride when we transplanted. Here the plants look fairly good, but there is a heavy layer of epiphytes that must be decreasing overall productivity. Once we deliver some snails to these plants, the problem should be solved.

With each season we learn more about the natural cycles underway in the waters around us. Not every year is the same, but trends have emerged. I hope that with this knowledge we can improve our ability to successfully plant eelgrass. So far, so good, but everyday in the field teaches us something new.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Working in the fog!

We had big plans for field work yesterday including test plantings on the north side of Plum Island, but it wasn't to be...

It was a beautiful day at the lab, warm, sunny and very little breeze...all the makings for the perfect day on the water, or at least I thought that would be the case. Rounding the north side of Shelter Island we could see hints of fog to the east and I didn't think too much of it as we have been out in fog in the past and it always clears. It's usually around in the early morning and disapears by mid problem.

This day was a little different. On our way past Bug Light and into Gardiners Bay we could see that the fog was thicker to the east and from the activity on the radio, it was clear that there was no visibility in Plum Gut. With this in mind I took us on a heading that would steer well clear of this busy area and we tracked southeast into Gardiners Bay on our way to Fishers Island. Unfortunatley, the fog never abated and it just got thicker and thicker making navigation nearly impossible. I decided we would try and wait it out on the south side of Plum Island where few boats would be in the hope that the fog would eventually clear.

After waiting approximately 30 minutes we decided to give up on plan A and forged ahead with a plan B. Since we were already at Plum Island, I figured we might as well scout for another test planting site to compliment the ones we have off of Fort Terry. I wanted to find an additional site further SW along the Island to try and avoid some issues we were experiencing with our first plots that seemed to gather masses of drifting macroalgae after heavy E-SE winds. This is a long story that relates to similar easterly facing planting site off of Shelter Island. The take home is that we not only have to consider current velocity and wave energy when planning out planting sites, but we also have to consider prevailing current direction and the characteristics of the upstream bottom conditions. (I'll get into this in a future post)

I had already identified a new site using aerial photos so it was just a matter of getting in the water to see if the conditions were suitable. After swimming around I was very pleased to find that the conditions were not only suitable, but were superior to our other planting site to the NE. The area contained plenty of perfectly sized rocks for rock plantings and the rocks had a nice growth of macroalgae indicating the perfect conditions. At least the day wasn't an entire loss!

After this we decided to push our luck and venture around the eastern tip of Plum to see if we could explore the north shore where we had planned addtional plantings. The heavy fog made this very challenging, but we were eventually able to find one of the sites that I had identified previously and we carefully anchored near the rocks where no boater would dare go. In the water here we were able to explore a large area inshore of the boat and among the rocks, but none of this looked suitable for planting.

After this second dive we decided to call it a day and head back to the lab to get some other work done. Hopefully, later this week we can return and complete our scouting.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

So much field little time!

After what was a pretty slow May marred by weather related delays, we hit the water hard in mid June and basically haven't stopped since. Sure there's been the necessary office work, but the pace has been nearly frantic throughout the summer.

We have been busy planting out new test plots in LIS, PE and the SSER in preparation for the coming restoration season. Our monitoring work has followed the progress of these new plantings every other week and we have also made time to go out and check on our plantings from previous years to see how they are faring.

This summer we are also testing out one TWO new planting methods, one in Shinnecock Bay and PE and the other in LIS and PE. Both could open up new restoration opportunities for us in these areas and may help to reduce restoration costs and labor.

Our monitoring results have been VERY encouraging and generally fall into what we have come to expect for the region. LIS sites, both old and new have met or exceeded our expectations. The same can be said for Shinnecock bay plantings. PE, on the the other hand, continues to disappoint, at least in some areas. A new site off Plum Island, however, may be the one we've been waiting for. If this site proves successful, it could be on a scale unheard of in the PE. So far so good!

Look for detailed posts on each of these projects as time permits in the coming weeks.

For now we have to take advantage of the very cooperative weather and continue with field work!


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Planting in the Hamptons...

Yesterday we spent the day in Shinnecock Bay reconing for a large-scale Buoy Deployed Seeding effort we have planned with the Southampton Town Trustees. The forecast called for a passing shower and we were lucky enough drive through it on our way from Southold to Southampton. Once we got the the ramp at Ponquogue Bridge it was only sprinkling and by the time we got in the water the rain had stopped. The sun didn't come out, but at least it wasn't raining...

Our first stop was a site in Tiana Bay to collect a new sediment sample to round out our sediment data for the Eelgrass and Bay Scallop Project funded by the NYSDOS. The previous sample collected last year had some "issues" so we just needed to retake the sample so the analysis could be re-run. While at the site we were pleased to see a very interesting and patchy meadow, growing in mud, with flowers reaching to the surface. Although we didn't have time to investigate in more detail yesterday, we will have to go back and observe this site in more detail as it is different from other SSER meadows we are aware of.

The two goals of our trip were to: 1) locate and characterize an appropriate multi-acre planting site, and 2) to identify a seed donor site and collect samples to determine potential seed yield and timing of seed collection.

After finishing in Tiana, we headed back east under the bridge and anchored in the flats just beyond the inlet and north of the barrier beach. At a meeting a couple weeks ago with the Trustees it was decided that we would focus on a very large flat south of some of the existing grass in the bay in an area that was not used for shellfishing. Once we got out there we realized that this site just happens to be in front of the largest home on the barrier beach so it will be relatively easy to find the future.

Once at the proposed site we started by setting small buoys to generally define the planting area. With these in place, we set out to characterize the site in more detail so that we could base our final decision on the existing conditions. While Kim and Ali collected sediment samples and photographed the bottom, Steve and I walked the perimeter of the area and recorded depth, time and GPS coordinates to characterize depths. With regard to depth, we need to make sure that the site is deep enough to support or buoys. In addition, we also need to determine our BuDS line lengths based on this depth.

In order to find a suitable seed donor site, Kim and Ali observed the natural meadows north of the flats in 7-9 feet of water and at another site near the Coast Guard Station in 7 feet of water. At each site they collected at least 10 reproductive shoots so that spathes, and seeds could be counted. Given that it has been cold this year, the flowers were in early stages of development and we observed stigmas emerging and some pollen being released. This gives us approximately 4 weeks until the first seed release depending on how our water temperatures progress this month.

Once Steve gets the GPS coordinates on an appropriate aerial photo I will be able to present the map to the Trustees for final approval. When this is complete, we hope to mark the site with larger buoys or sapling "whips" so that it will be easily identified in the future. Kim will also be observing the flowers she collected to determine the potential seed yield and give us an idea of the optimal collection window. At this point we are looking at the last week in June as a potential collection/deployment time.

- ChrisP

Monday, June 1, 2009

Hallocks Bay seedlings far!

Today Kim and I took the small Parker out to Hallock Bay to check on the status of our seedlings there. Last year we planted approximately 500,000 seeds in two areas; one in inner north Gidds Bay and one east of the inner channel running north/south in Hallocks. Kim, Steve and Ali had been out to check on the seedlings on April 27th, but we like to check on things monthly, if not more often. At that time they located the densest patches and took pictures and did some quadrat counts to get a general idea of densities before laterals start forming in May.

Today the weather was nearly perfect for observations with clear skies and a light breeze out of the northwest that add only a slight chop to the protected waters of Hallocks. Once in the water, Kim was able to locate the seedlings at the channel site in Hallocks and take a number of good photographs (left and below). Plants here were still small for this time of year given that water temps have been slow to rise this spring. However they all looked even healthier than in April according to Kim who had observed them both times. The densest areas looked especially impressive, even if the plants were only a few inches tall.

Observations in Gidds Bay were similar although the plants (large photo above) were larger given the finer sediment and additional nutrients available . These muddy sites seem to recruit and grow seedlings very well early in the season, but are typically the first areas to lose grass in summer at the water clarity declines, temperatures increase and crab activity rises. This is what we observed in Noyack Creek last summer when we lost all of our seedlings in June. I think conditions in Hallocks are better than in Noyack and we can only hope that this does not happen again.

Now that we have successful seedling establishment, all we can do is sit back and wait for the coming summer. Only time will tell if this planting will be successful. In the coming weeks I hope to work with the Southold Town Trustees to establish a temporary habitat sanctuary at, the channel site minimally so that, if the plants make it through July and into August, we can scale-up the effort and plan for a large-scale Buoy Deployed Seeding (BuDS) here. The fact that we have seeds maturing into August around Fishers Island gives us until that late in the season plant, but we must act quickly if we are to establish the sanctuary...

I hope to report back on the success of these sites.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

BuDS goes National!

A new planting system we devised and first tested in Sag Harbor Cove in 2000 has been adopted by managers in San Francisco Bay to help to restore grass there.....see this link to the story.

In 2002, I was invited to a workshop designed to discuss various alternatives for replanting grass in the intertidal flats in the Bay. Subsequent to this, a NOAA-funded study was undertaken to test three methods of planting eelgrass including a modified TERFS transplant method, broadcast seeding and our Buoy Deployed Seeding. We were very happy to learn that the BuDS had the best results and has since been the method of choice for San Fran managers. Apparently, they have been able to establish acres of grass using this method. See the NOAA story for details and check out the close-up photo (below) of an intertidal flat taken by Dr. Mark Fonseca of NOAA.

The State of Maryland also has some considerable success with BuDS and considered it the most economical method they ever tested. I'm not sure if they are still using it, but it is nice to know that this system has worked elsewhere. Initial trials in Portugal were inconclusive, but I hope that they also adopt our system.

With all the success of this method you would think that we would have lots of sites to point to here on Long Island, but, unfortunately, we don't. This system is best suited to shallow sandy flats that can be found in San Francisco and the Maryland Coastal Bays system. The only areas we have like that around here are in the South Shore Estuary Reserve. We did run a trial on TNC's Blue Points property a couple years ago, but the arrival of the brown tide last year all but doomed that effort.

In a new effort, we are about to embark on a large-scale eelgrass planting project using BuDS in Shinnecock Bay. This project, with funding from Suffolk County and the cooperation and support of the Southampton Town Trustees, will be our largest BuDS deployment ever and has a high likelyhood of successful if our initial transplant tests are any indication. This project follows the successful completion of a New York State Department of State funded Eelgrass and bay scallop restoration planning effort for Shinnecock and Moriches Bays. (I will have an entire post once the final report and GIS model is released next month).

In the coming days we will be spending time out on the flats scouting and marking the most suitable areas. A meeting with the Trustees has indicated that there is one large area that will likely be ideal.

In a future post I will report back on the progress of this work.

-- ChrisP

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Boat Time!

After what seems like an endless winter it’s finally time to get the “big” Parker in the water. We really have to get out and check on some of last year’s sites and scout for new ones for the coming season. The cold weather, winds and rain have really put a damper on what I hoped would be a more productive April field season. It was probably better off this way as I have been able to clean up some administrative stuff that would otherwise cause me problems later in the year. It’s hard to respond to frantic calls about some missing report or budget snafu when I’m under water!

Today is the day! Steve has completed last minute checks of the batteries, electronics and other details. Ali (above) has used her recent boater safety training to make sure that our safety equipment is ready to go. All we need now is enough water to float the boat off the trailer here at Cedar Beach today…no small task.

By tomorrow I hope to be in the water testing out some new dive gear. I just got a Black Diamond BCD that feels really nice above water. No telling how it will feel under water. My good old Zeagle has seen better days and needs to be retired as a back up. It would be nice to be able to ditch the dry suits tomorrow, but I think we need it to get a little warmer before that happens.

Look out four our first field reports soon.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

NYC plantings finally in!

After much coordination of our schedules with that of NYCDEP, we were finally able to complete our plantings into Jamaica Bay. It would have been nice to get them in last fall or even this past winter, but it wasn’t to be…

On April 9th Steve, Kim and I planted 2,100 plants gathered from Mulford and Orient Points into 11 separate 1m2 plots. We had hoped to have more donor material, but the fact that the plants were so small this time of year made collection difficult. We planted 6 plots at Breezy Point, 3 at Floyd Bennett Field and 2 at Little Egg Marsh. Plots were set out perpendicular to shore and started just below MLW and went out to ~3ft at MLW. All plots were marked with a labeled stone at the center and we kept the Mulford and Orient shoots separate so that we might be able to tease out donor population effects.

The weather was very cooperative and we met John McLaughlin of NYCDEP and Robert Will of the Army Corp of Engineers at the old Coast Guard Station west of the Marine Parkway Bridge at 8:30am for a day on the water. A NYCDEP boat came to pick us up soon thereafter and we were on our way. It was a little breezy, but coming from the SSW meant that we were protected for most of our work.

We had planned to work during the ebbing tide and end up at Breezy Point, at or around low tide. This worked out well as we arrived at this site at 1:15am and we were able to observe the full extent of the flats at low tide. After laying out the six plots here, the three of us began planting and we finished some time around 2:30pm. Steve installed an OnSet temperature logger adjacent to the deepest plot and we were on our way.

One troubling observation as we were heading back to the dock was the fact that we saw a number of brant feeding almost exactly on top of our shallowest plot at Breezy Point. We fully expect to loose this plot to something, maybe exposure or erosion, but I didn’t think it would be to Brant! There is no guarantee that they did rip out the plants, but I will be very surprised if any remain in this plot when we return in May. I just hope they haven’t moved out to the deeper plots…

I’ll provide an update next month after our first monitoring visit.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Long overdue...

Well, I haven't posted anything in more than a month now. I do have one excuse...I was on vacation for the first three weeks in January. After that I had to catch up on the pile of office work that had built up since I left!

Now I'm back and I should be able to keep things going again.

The capture above is from a mock up of our latest newsletter that I am working on this week. I hope to have it to the printers by the middle of next week, but since I'm so early in the proces it's not clear when it will be ready to go. It may change a little, but you get the gist of it. For those who have seen previous newsletters, you can see that I have changed the look a little. I'm going for more of a magazine style. You'll have to wait and see if I get it right!

Field work has been minimal with the cold weather and ice that have been around in recent weeks. Kim and I did get in Monday to test our new drysuites and I am happy to report that I was warm and toasty and there was not one leak! Love the new Unisuite! Kim had a little leakage around a wrist, but not enough to worry much about.

Our planned NYC plantings have been rescheduled again as we can't seem to line up weather and reporters... I would just as soon plant, but they do want to have this event covered properly in the local press.

I will be travelling to Portland Maine in a couple weeks to present the status of eelgrass in NY waters. Should be an interesting, if not depressing, meeting as managers and scientists from around the northeast report on the status of Zostera in their waters...

Well, I've got to get back to working on the newsletter.

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