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