Monday, May 21, 2012

Great Gull Island (LIS) Spring Monitoring

Last week we continued spring monitoring at our large-scale restoration sites in Long Island Sound and the Peconic Estuary.  On one trip across the Sound Steve and I checked on Little Narragansett Bay, CT test plantnigs (to be reported on later) and, on the way back, stopped by Great Gull Island (north), NY.  We had only been to GGI once  or maybe twice last year and things were looking good, but you never know when the site is as exposed as this one is.  This site was planted a couple years ago as part of one of our National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Sound Futures Fund projects.  See photos from two years ago here.
 I was hoping this site had progressed like our plantings on the south side of the island and after seeing everything here, I was not disappointed.  One change this year was a noticeable increase in the number of flowers visible (although not many are seen in the photos I chose to post).  There were a few flowers last year, but the numbers were definitely up this year.  This is a good sign although I don't expect the site to recruit many seedlings any time soon since the energy is so high here that seeds will be either buried too deeply or exported offsite until the patch size increases significantly.
 As far a follow up monitoring, we shouldn't  really have to go back here much this year to check on things, but we may schedule a mid to late summer visit to make sure everything is OK.  I have not decided whether to add more plants here, but it is definitely not on the top of my list at the moment given the other plantings we need to do.  Now it is just a matter of having a little patience and waiting for the grass to expand over time as it spreads vegetatively across the bottom.  The older plantings on the south side of the island clearly show that it is just a matter of creating stable patches to initiate a successful restoration project when the proper site is selected.
That's all for this site for now as I need to report on the other sites we've visited so far this year.


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