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).


No comments: