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.