Monday, June 1, 2009
Hallocks Bay seedlings thrive...so 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.