Monitoring > Field Observations > 2000
2000 Field Observations and a First Look at the Aerial Photography
  • 11/06/00 Bob Orth, VIMS - SAV Aerial Update #4 (Coastal Bays)
  • 10/23/00 Lee Karrh, Md. DNR - Sassafras River
  • 10/23/00 Kent Mountford - Dundee and Saltpeter Creek, Tar Bay, Lower Patuxent, Opossum, Barren, and James Islands
  • 10/23/00 Bob Orth, VIMS - SAV Aerial Update #3 (Upper Bay, Upper Rappahanock, York, and James Rivers)
  • 10/07/00 Pierre Henkart, Severn SAV
  • 10/04/00 Peter Bergstrom, USFWS - August/September 2000 SAV regrowth in Severn and Magothy
  • 10/02/00 Mike Maylor, Md. DNR - Dundee Creek
  • 09/21/00 Stan Kollar, Harford CC - Susquehanna Flats
  • 08/28/00 Peter Bergstrom, USFWS - Magothy River, Gibson Island, Round Bay
  • 08/28/00 Bob Orth, VIMS - SAV Aerial Update #2 (Honga, Patuxent, Upper York, Mattaponi River, and St. Marys Rivers, Barren Island, Tar Bay)
  • 08/26/00 Kent Mountford - St Leonard Creek
  • 08/24/00 Jill Bieri, CBF - Mattaponi River
  • 08/09/00 Bob Orth, VIMS - Chincoteague update
  • 07/25/00 Julie Bortz, USAEC/ORISE - Spesutie Island
  • 07/18/00 Bob Orth, VIMS - SAV Aerial Update #1 (Lower Chesapeake Bay)
  • 07/14/00 Chris Lea, NPS - Update on Macroalga in Chincoteague Bay
  • 07/08/00 Peter Bergstrom, USFWS - SAV Ground truthing from Potomac and Severn Rivers
  • 06/30/00 Mike Haramis, USGS BRD - Smith Island
  • 06/24/00 Kim Donahue, Chesapeake Bay Foundation - Tred Avon and Dundee Creek
  • 06/23/00 Harry Womack, Salisbury State University - Nanticoke River
  • 06/14/00 Peter Bergstrom, USFWS - Shallow Creek
  • 05/26/00 Harry Womack, Salisbury State University - Coastal Bays
  • 05/05/00 Mike Weldon, Aberdeen Proving Grounds - Spesutie Narrows, Gunpowder and Bush Rivers, Dundee Creek
  • 05/12/00 Peter Bergstrom, USFWS - Parrotfeather (Myriophyllum brasiliense)

11/06/00 Bob Orth, VIMS

SAV AERIAL UPDATE #4 - Nov. 3, 2000.

COASTAL BAYS, VA AND MD (Lines 114-116, first flown on July 2 and reflown on Oct. 25)

The combination of two flights (July 2 and Oct. 25) provide adequate coverage to assess the SAV distribution in this region. While the second flight was much later than normal, the clarity of the water was phenomenal so that even the sparser areas are detectable. You can even see some of the bottom features in the deeper, sandier channels of Sinepuxent Bay just south of the 611 bridge. SAV beds are present and abundant in many of the same locations as has been reported in prior years. However, there are some large areas in Chincoteague Bay around Coards Marsh (VA portion) and Tingles Island (MD portion), as well as a few additional areas, that appear either unvegetated or have very sparse SAV. These are in locations that had very dense beds in earlier years. One possible hypothesis is that this large and localized loss may be a result of the large amounts of drift macroalgae which we, and many others, observed last year lying on top of the existing SAV, and 'smothering' the SAV. The sharp demarcation between areas with and without SAV also supports this hypothesis. We examined one area near Coards Marsh last fall and noted dead rhizomes in the bare zone adjacent to dense, robust live eelgrass.

Dredge scars in the VA portion of Chincoteague Bay (circular scars) are still visible but some revegetation appears to be occurring. We ground-truthed the 8 scars we have been following (two 1996, four-1997, and two-1998 scars) and found coverage to be quite variable this year, with some loss possibly attributable to the macroalgae.

The hydraulic dredge scars in Maryland (all four bays) are still quite visible in the locations they have been reported previously, especially in Sinepuxent, Isle of Wight and Assawoman bays. Whether any of the visible scars are new ones will take some effort (and cost) but it certainly would be valuable to see if the protection zones have been effective!

One note of interest: the SAV area immediately north of Coards Marsh, which lies within the Virginia portion of Chincoteague Bay, has both the circular scars and linear scars in the same area. These linear scars, which are created by hydraulic clam dredges, were formed sometime during the 99/00 clamming season. Therefore, it is apparent that hydraulic dredging, which is not allowed in Virginia waters, did occur here. ( See letter to VMRC)


Bob (JJ)

10/23/00 Lee Karrh, Md. DNR

Sassafras River

About the Sassafras, I concur that grass is way up from '99. In June of '00, it was extremely difficult to motor in Lloyds Creek (quad 016) whereas last year there was no problem. Tom Parham and I were back out yesterday in that area and SAV is still fairly dense, though I would estimate about 1/2 as dense as June. The spp. present where milfoil (primarily) and decent patches of wild celery

10/23/00 Kent Mountford

Dundee and Saltpeter Creek, Tar Bay, Lower Patuxent, Opossum, Barren, and James Islands

I've done ground truth twice in Dundee and Saltpeter Creek, once with DNR guys and last week, with camera when I spoke at marshy Point Center there (quad 014). It is fabulous and we estimated actual visibility (with DNR) at about 4 meters "diagonally" since secchi was visible on the bottom everywhere the grass didn't cover it. Mostly Vallisneria, but some Southern Naiad, Millfoil in fairly large patches. With DNR, (Naylor, Karrh and Magnien) we saw scores of big catchable size fish. Saw none last week, except bait sized stuff.

Verified the big beds in Tar Bay, both behind The Marshes (about a mile of the stuff) and North of Opossum Island (quad 073). Smaller beds were all over south of Opossum too, at least as far as the tip of Barren Island. Pure stands of Ruppia everywhere.

Bob Orth's visual detection of beds in the Lower Patuxent is correct, but some small sprigs of Zannichellia are appearing, even while the water was about 20 c.

I was off the sandbar separating the two north fragments of James Island (quad 092) this weekend and the sand flats to the east had no SAV, where I saw reasonable patches last year.

10/23/00 Bob Orth, VIMS

SAV Aerial Update #3 - October 23, 2000 - Photography Flown 9/22, 9/28, 9/29, 9/30; 10/3, 10/12, 10/13


Greetings! The weather finally cooperated in late Sept. and early October as we completed the acquisition phase of the 2000 SAV survey. Although some of the lines were flown a little later than normal, SAV in many locations persisted into the fall period, and in some locations, apparently increased in abundance from what was noted from field observations in the early part of the summer.

Flights were conducted on Sept. 22, 28, 29, 30; Oct. 3, 12, 13. Refer to previous reports or our web site for the location of the flight lines. Completed quadrangles for SAV distribution for 2000 are also on the web site.


LITTLE CHOPTANK RIVER AND ADJACENT BAYS AND COVES (flight lines 16, 17, 18, quads 051 and 052)
SAV abundant in Hills Point Cove, Trippe Bay, and Brannock Bay . SAV present in lower portions of Brooks, Hudson, Phillips, Backwith, and Fishing creeks, and Madison Bay. SAV is considerably less than last year, primarily in the Little Choptank River section.

CHOPTANK RIVER (flight lines 18-26, quads 043, 044, and 051)
SAV beds present in only a few areas, principally east side of Tilghman Island, Cooks Point Cove, Todds Point, Harris and Broad creeks and at the mouth of Irish Creek. These are only a fraction of what was noted in earlier years. No beds were observed in the Tred Avon River.

EASTERN BAY (flight lines 22-32, quads 033 and 037)
No SAV noted in the aerial photography in any section, including the Miles and Wye rivers. This is in stark contrast to the abundant SAV reported in 1999 and earlier years. The lack of SAV on the Sept. aerial photos is surprising because SAV was observed earlier in the season by a VIMS team (April 7) and CBF staff (June 26). VIMS staff, when checking a seed experiment at Hambleton Point, noted SAV off Parsons Island (sago pondweed) and Piney Point Neck (widgeongrass). In addition, CBF staff observed SAV (both sago pondweed and widgeongrass) off Parsons Island on June 26. They also commented on the very low secchi reading (10 inches) despite the sago being long (almost a meter in length). However, staff from MD DNR and VIMS revisited some of these sites on Aug. 16, as well as some areas in the Miles and Wye rivers, and found no SAV and only very scattered plants of sago pondweed off Parsons Island. These plants were prostrate on the sediment and would have been impossible to observe on the aerial photographs.

It is very possible that the lack of plants in this region of the bay may be a result of the timing, intensity, duration and extent of the 'mahogany' tides that occurred in the late spring and early summer.

CHESTER RIVER (flight lines 33-37, quad 026)
No SAV noted anywhere including around Eastern Neck Island.

SAV noted in Haven Harbor, Fairlee Creek, Worton Creek, and Churn Creek.

SASSAFRAS RIVER (flight line 39, quads 009, 010, and 016)
Patchy to dense SAV along both shorelines of the lower portion of this river as well as in Lloyd Creek and at the mouth of Money Creek. Definitely an expansion from 1999.

ELK AND BOHEMIA RIVERS (flight lines 40 and 41)
Patchy to dense SAV along the entire length of the Elk and at the mouth of the Bohemia River (quads 004, 005, and 010. SAV beds are very impressive this year!

SUSQUEHANNA FLATS AND RIVER AND ADJACENT AREAS (flight lines 41-46, quads 002, 003, and 009)
Dense SAV beds from Perry Pt. to Furnace Bay, with very dense beds in Furnace Bay. SAV beds dense in the lower Susquehanna R. SAV beds dense along the shoreline south of Havre de Grace. SAV beds on the Flats are the densest I have noted in the aerial survey. The 2000 photography is some of the best I have seen of the Flats area!! Also, refer to Stan Kollar's earlier observations he made re. the impressive SAV situation here. SAV beds present along both shorelines in Spesutie Narrows and adjacent Mosquito Creek.


BUSH AND ROMNEY CREEKS (flight lines 46 and 47, quads 008, 014, and 015)
SAV present in small pockets in lower Bush (e.g. Doves Cove, Townes Cove) and throughout Romney and Little Romney creeks. SAV present in an area on the bay side midway between Leges Pt. and Robins Pt. and just south of Boone Creek.

GUNPOWDER RIVER AND ADJACENT AREAS (flight lines 46, 48, 49, 50, quads 007 and 014)
SAV beds very impressive in this section, notably along both shorelines from Rickett Pt. up river along the western shore and Battery Point on the east shore! SAV very abundant around the marshes above the train bridge around Days Cove. SAV incredible in Dundee Creek where it covers the entire river in the lower portion entering the Gunpowder. SAV also present in Saltpeter and Seneca creeks and abundant in all areas around Carroll Island . SAV present around Pooles Is.

MIDDLE RIVER (flight lines 48, 49, 50, quad 013)
SAV beds throughout the Middle River but especially in Frog Mortar Creek. SAV present around Holly Neck at the mouth of the Middle River and around Browns Creek.

BACK RIVER (flight lines 48, 49, 50)
No SAV noted.

PATAPSCO RIVER (flight lines 51-55)
No SAV noted, including none at Shallow Creek where Peter Bergstrom has done a lot of transplanting (I can see Peter's 3 cages in the photos)

MAGOTHY RIVER (flight lines 54, 55, 56, quads 023, 024)
SAV present along shoreline from Shore Acres to Ulmsteads Pt., and at the mouth of Forked Creek, along an area called Wilson Wharf. Beds present along the west side of Gibson Island, Magothy Narrows, Inner Harbor, the mouth of Cornfield Creek and along Long Pt., Dobbins Is., Hickory Pt. and at the mouth of Park Creek.

SEVERN RIVER (flight lines 56, 57 and 58, quad 023)
SAV present ONLY along the shoreline from just south of Aisquith Creek and Rays Pond to Eaglenest Pt. at Sullivan Cove.

SOUTH RIVER (flight lines 58 and 59)
No SAV noted on the photographs.

RHODE AND WEST RIVERS (flight lines 58 and 59)
No SAV noted on the photographs.

LOWER PATUXENT RIVER (flight lines 61-62)
No SAV noted on the photographs.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER (301 bridge to DC - flight lines 118-133, quads 028, 034, 039, 040, 047, 048, 055, 056, 057, 064, 065)
SAV abundant in many sections of the segment. SAV beds patchy to dense along the entire shoreline of the mainstem from Maryland Point to Port Tobacco River as well as along both shorelines of this river and very dense beds in Nanjemoy Creek, although there is less SAV than in 1999. Large bed across from Maryland Point on the Virginia side is absent this year. SAV beds are present in Potomac and Aquia Creeks. There has been a significant increase in SAV along the shoreline from the mouth of Aquia Creek to Quantico, including in Chopawamsic Creek and around Chopawamsic Island. There are scattered SAV beds in Quantico Creek, a few SAV beds in Belmont and Occoquan bays, scattered SAV beds in Gunston Cove, dense beds along mainstem just below Hallowing Pt., and a new, medium dense bed on shoal area at mouth of Dogue Creek and along the shoreline of the creek. Dense SAV beds begin around Mt. Vernon and continue to the bridge, but are especially dense in the cove off Belle Haven marina. A new patchy bed has appeared in the middle of the river just south of the cove coming out of Belle Haven marina!

SAV on eastern shore starts at Smith Pt. and is very dense in Wades and Mallows bay, and is very dense in Chicamuxen Creek. There are dense fringing beds along both shores of Mattawoman Creek, and medium dense to dense fringing beds along the shoreline to Broad Creek and up into Smoot Bay, with dense beds in Piscataway, Swan, and Broad creeks.

SAV in the area by DC down to the bridge is incredible!!!! The large bed above and below the bridge is as large and dense as it has ever been. The large bed just south of the airport has continued to expand to the south of the approach pier, and beds along the shoreline adjacent to the airport are also dense and continuous. Beds are present in the middle of the river across from the airport. Beds adjacent to Roosevelt Island are as dense as ever. Dense fringing SAV adjacent to East Potomac Park to the Tidal Basin, just up from East Potomac Park. Many of the smaller beds noted in past years are also present and very dense. There are dense fringing beds from the Blue Plains plant to the mouth of the Anacostia River, but little SAV in the Anacostia River.

LOWER POTOMAC RIVER (flown earlier - see the July 16 aerial update)

UPPER RAPPAHANOCK RIVER (flight lines 142-147, quads 200, 201)
There are small fringing SAV beds visible around Otterburn Marsh, Drakes Marsh, Horsehead Pt., and in a small marsh just above Gingoteague Creek.

PAMUNKEY RIVER (flight lines 151 and 152, quads 225, 228, 230)
The only notable beds are adjacent to the marshes around the Pamunkey Indian Reservation.

MIDDLE AND UPPER JAMES RIVER (flight lines 153-165, quads 127, 128, 135, 210)
The only SAV beds noted this year are in the Chickahominy River and Upper Chippokes Creek.

If you would like information on a specific site in any of these locations, or if you have any ground data that supports what we are observing on the photographs, please e-mail us at VIMS or give us a call.

Please share this with any other interested individuals or groups.

Bob (JJ)

10/07/00 Pierre Henkart

Severn SAV (quad 024)

I just wanted to pass along a report of my Severn River SAV searches this weekend. I got out both Sat and Mon mornings at low tides which were about 1 foot lower than normal lows (due to N winds), and in the river I was able to see the bottom quite well 1 foot down. There was no sign of widgeon grass including short form in any of the formerly dense beds on the SW shore from Epping Forest up to Brewer's Pond. The Sherwood Forest jetty enclosure photographed by David Wallace contains a small but dense patch of redhead grass, which is the only sign of it I found. I also checked Winchester and Manressa Ponds on the NE shore below the Rte 50 bridge. These contained small but dense milfoil beds in front of their marshes the last couple years, but Winchester Pond now has only a few scattered plants while Manressa Pond has none at all. Coupled with the thinner milfoil growth in Ray's Pond it looks to me as though milfoil has taken a definite hit this year along with widgeon grass and horned pondweed in the Severn.

10/04/00 Peter Bergstrom, USFWS

August/September 2000 SAV regrowth in Severn and Magothy (quads 023, and 024)

Both the Severn and Magothy rivers had a decline in widgeongrass and to a lesser extent in redhead grass in 2000, based on Severn surveys I did on July 11, and Magothy surveys done on August 28. The most likely cause for the decline, at least in the Severn, was the mahogany tide documented nearby in DNR surveys on April 26 and May 9, 2000 (see ) that apparently caused a dramatic drop in Severn Secchi depths in both April and May 2000 (see ).

Normally these species do not have a noticeable fall growth spurt similar to that seen in eelgrass, but it appears that this has occurred this year. In August and September there has been some expansion of both redhead and widgeon in both rivers, although it has not recovered to 1998 or 1999 levels (see quads 23 and 24).

On the Severn on 10/1, there was a lot more of both species than I saw there on 7/11, and reports from others indicate that much of the regrowth was in September. The beds that have expanded are mainly limited to the Asquith Creek area where the recovery started in 1994. The Ppf and Rm beds that I saw outside the mouth of Rays Pond in July have expanded, and there are scattered new beds of both species within the footprint of the former large bed off Asquith Creek. About 7 mute swans were seen eating the SAV. Surface salinity was 10-12 ppt and Secchi depth was 0.75 m inside Rays Pond, and 1.3 m in the river.

On the Magothy on 10/4, there had been a marked increase in both species around Gibson Island and in Cornfield Creek since our surveys done on 8/28. The increase in redhead appeared to be greater. Surface salinity was 10-12 ppt and Secchi depths were 0.9 m near Gibson Island and 0.6 m inside James Pond. We saw over 100 resident Canada geese near the SAV beds. Bud Jenkins also surveyed the Magothy today (10/5) and found increases in redhead around Gibson Island and at Stonington on the south shore. James Pond, however, had no evidence of SAV regrowth since 8/28.

In both rivers, the widgeon seems to be about two to three months behind schedule with flowers just opening and very few seeds seen. Most of the redhead has seeds. Epiphytes in both rivers were fairly heavy so that many plants were not at the surface, even at low tide, which may make them hard to see in photographs.

10/02/00 Mike Naylor Maryland DNR

Dundee Creek (quad 014)

Lee Karrh and I received an impossible to resist invitation from Julie Bortz to spend the day yesterday in and around Dundee Creek. We were able to see first hand the amazing rebound of the grasses there, after a down year last year. The wild celery beds were extensive and very healthy out to 8' deep, and the bottom was clearly visible at this depth in some areas. Seed pods covered the surface for acres, and despite visible grazing activity from mute swans nearby (which we watched feeding in the beds), the number of seeds being produced this year has to be seen to be believed. I've spent quite a bit of time around wild celery beds in the bay, and I have never, ever seen anything like this. If any of you have a chance in the next few weeks to make a trip up there, it is worth your while. It is unreal- if only more of the bay were like that.

09/21/00 Stan Kollar, Harford Community College

Susquehanna Flats (quad 003)

After monitoring SAV in the upper bay for 15 years, I'm pleased to report the overwhelming abundance of Vallisneria, Najas, Ceratophyllum and Heteranthera in areas previously dominated by Myriophyllum and Hydrilla. This transition has been slowly occuring over the last few years, but this year took a quantum leap forward. Najas in some embayments below Havre de Grace is actually outcompeting Hydrilla. If diversity is any measure of bay health, this is very good news for Susquehanna Flats. Lets hope that the trend continues.

08/28/00 Peter Bergstrom, USFWS

Magothy River, Gibson Island quad (#024) and a small part of Round Bay quad (#023)

Yesterday Bud Jenkins and I ground truthed much of the lower Magothy, from Deep Creek and Gibson Island upriver to North and South Ferry Point, which are generally the upstream limit for SAV species other than horned pondweed. We lucked out and got a sunny day, which helps tremendously in spotting SAV beds.

We found a general decline in widgeongrass compared to past years, which we also noted on the Severn River on July 11. Redhead grass was doing well in a few areas but had declined in several areas. Where it had declined (around Gibson Island in Magothy Narrows and Redhouse Cove), it seemed to have gone through a period of poor light availability, because the remaining redhead beds were limited to a narrow strip in very shallow water, within 10-15 feet of the MLW line in water that was roughly knee deep. Secchi depths yesterday ranged from 1.1 m near Stonington (see below), which is good for the Magothy in the summer, to 0.5 m in a cove on the west side of Gibson Island. Salinities were 7-9 ppt and we saw 3 sea nettles (but I avoided being stung by them).

Redhead grass was doing well on the south shore of the river near the Stonington pier, which was bed F3 on quad 24 in the 1999 VIMS report and bed L4 in the 98 report. (Stonington pier has a continuous water quality monitoring recorder placed there by MD DNR; see the EMPACT web site at and select Magothy--Stonington for the latest data. Compare this to an upriver site with no SAV and much poorer water quality, especially for DO, turbidity and fluorescence, by selecting Magothy-Cattail Creek.)

Redhead was also doing well in Cornfield Creek, bed JA4 on quad 24 in the 1998 report. However, the redhead bed on the west side of Gibson Island on Sillery Bay (bed QA4 in 1998) had thinned to the point where it was hardly recognizable as a bed; this had been one of the most persistent beds in the Magothy, having been there in 1992 before any SAV was mapped in 1993.

We saw more sago pondweed than usual but most was in poor condition, appearing to be partly dead and with very few seeds. It may have been partly hidden by the taller widgeongrass in past years, however. We found it in the mouth of Deep Creek and around Dobbins Island as before, but also in most of the beds along the south shore as far upriver as South Ferry Point. Wild celery, which was limited to South Ferry Point and Cornfield Creek in our past surveys, was also found in patchy beds at Wilson Wharf (bed C2 in 99 report, quad 24), where the salinity was 9 ppt. Common waterweed (Elodea canadensis) was fairly dense and green in one bed off Gibson Island (bed PA4 quad 24 in the 98 report) and less dense and more brown in Cornfield Creek (bed JA4, 98 report). The high salinity in 1999 may have led to a dieback of Elodea in some areas such as Queenstown Creek, but some has persisted in the Magothy. What little Eurasian watermilfoil there was on the Magothy seems to have died back this year; we found only a few shoots along the south shore, and none off Gibson island where we had seen it before.

Two additions this year to the Magothy SAV list: water stargrass and curly pondweed. Both are low salinity species. We found very sparse water stargrass in poor condition in the upper end of the east arm of Gray's Creek (bed X4 in 98). Court Stevenson had found it previously in surveys he did there (but his results are not on the VIMS maps). Water stargrass was growing next to even sparser widgeongrass, an unusual combination since they have different (but overlapping) salinity tolerances. We did not find it yesterday, but another volunteer (Bill Grauer) found curly pondweed in Deep Creek, apparently above where we could get in a small john boat (he was in a canoe). I found it floating lower in Deep Creek this year as well. This brings the total Magothy tidal SAV species list to 13 (using VIMS abbreviations): redhead Ppf, sago Ppc, widgeon Rm, wild celery Va, milfoil Ms, elodea Ec, water stargrass Hd, curly Pcr, and horned Zp seen this year, and coontail Cd, Callitriche Cl, Najas sp. N, Potamogeton epihydrus Pe, and Sparganium S in past years. We have never found Chara or Nitella, slender pondweed, or hydrilla there, although any of them are possible given the salinity range.

Slender pondweed was found, however, in the non-tidal Otter Pond on Gibson Island this year, in a sample collected by Sally Hornor, AACC, and verified by myself and several other SAV Workgroup members. The milfoil (Ms) that had been at nuisance levels in that pond in past years declined dramatically in 2000, paralleling the declines in tidal Magothy Ms noted above.

We found no trace of the SAV that was planted in Blackhole Creek in 1998, and found only a few shoots of natural SAV (Rm) there, although we had found a few small beds there in past years. Several other small creeks and ponds that had small beds in past years had no SAV that we could find yesterday (including Broad Creek, James Pond, Scheide's Cove, and Spriggs Pond), and some had greatly reduced SAV (Lake Placid). Bud also reported that the 1998 bed in the west arm of Gray's Creek (W4) was gone this year.

08/28/00 Bob Orth, VIMS

SAV Aerial Update #2 - August 28, 2000 - Photography Flown 8/17


Greetings! Air Photographics finally had a break in the weather patterns and were able to obtain aerial photography on Aug. 17 from several areas. The summer atmospheric conditions when combined with wind, haze and tidal restrictions has been compromising their ability to obtain the photography. The one thing in our favor is that the cool summer we have been having appears to be conducive for the SAV to continue to thrive later in the season in locations where it has been reported so far.


HONGA RIVER, BARREN ISLAND, TAR BAY (lines 13, 14, 15) - We reflew parts of lines 13, 14 and 15 as some areas flown on the June 2 flight were a little hazy. SAV (primarily widgeongrass) still is very abundant at the Bishops Head area (quad 83) and many beds I noted in the first update remain present, or are even a little denser, in particular in the Tar Bay area (quads 72, 73). The one bed in the upper part of Tar Bay is quite dramatic, being almost one continuous bed for nearly a mile! The persistence of these beds is in contrast to what we are noting from ground observations in areas just north of the Honga, notably the Choptank River, Eastern Bay, including the Miles and Wye rivers and the Chester River, where ground observations have shown no or very little SAV.

PATUXENT RIVER (line 62, 63) - In 1999 we flew the upper Patuxent River later than normal because of weather related difficulties and no SAV appeared on the photos despite the field observations showing SAV present earlier. The 2000 photography shows SAV beds in many of the same locations noted in the 1998 survey (quads 41, 49, and 159), in particular across from Whites Landing, at the mouth of Spice and Kings creek, and Jug Bay. As we have mentioned in years past, many of the small creeks that enter the Patuxent River in this region have SAV beds that line both banks. These are beds that are impossible to map at the scale used by the annual report but can be seen in the photography. They appear as small, fringing beds that are probably no more than a few meters in width.

There also appears to be very small scattered patches of SAV at the mouth of the river from Solomans Island to Drum Pt., with a few patches close to shore on the bayside of Drum Point.


MATTAPONI RIVER (line 148, 149) Small pockets of SAV around emergent vegetation primarily around and above Walkerton (quads 225, 226).

ST MARYS RIVER (line 69) We reflew the lower portion of line 69 near the mouth because of excessive turbidity on the July 2 flight . The Aug. 17 flight revealed the presence of SAV (widgeongrass) in the lower portion similar to that observed in 1999. In addition, many of the beds noted on the photos taken July 2 (quads 79, 80, 89) are still present and are patchy to dense.


Also, please note that for the 2000 flight lines and maps, you can now see what has been accomplished to date for both flight lines completed or maps digitized by going to the index map for the 2000 survey on our website.

Please share this with any other interested individuals or groups.

Bob (JJ)

08/26/00 Kent Mountford

St Leonard Creek

On August 26 I went upstream as far as half tide navigation by dinghy permitted in St Leonard Creek (Quad 61), and in the totally fresh water meanders found fringe beds of thin Zannichellia, short form that here with the water at 26-28 deg C is setting seed already from the "Autumn" regrowth.

08/24/00 Jill Bieri, CBF

Mattaponi River

We covered almost the entire river. The sections we missed are being scouted this week by some other volunteers. I haven't completely gone thru all the data, but the water clarity was pretty bad. Secchi depths of 0.4 m and less. It was very murky and we had to rely totally on raking and jumping in, no grass was visible from the surface. We found wild celery, coontail and hydrilla. Most of the grass was found from Walkerton west (Quad 225). The Vallisneria was very shory (3-4 inches at best). I don't know if it got a slow start or if that is due to water clarity. I would like to go back up in a couple of weeks to the sites where we found Vallisneria to check on it and see if it has grown, flowered, etc.

08/09/00 Bob Orth, VIMS

Chincoteague update


Some of my staff and I were out in the southern portion of Chincoteague Bay just south of Coards Marsh (Quad 175) on Wednesday, Aug. 9, to assess the recovery of the clam dredge scars formed in 1996, 1997 and 1998. This is our third year in following the recovery of 8 of those scars (see SAV Special Reports). Of interest based on what we saw Wed:

  1. The pattern of eelgrass recovery is different for each of the scars but recovery is proceeding more rapidly than we had predicted in some of them.

  2. There are some large areas in the unscarred region that have no grass. Dead rhizomes are present but these 'dead zones' don't have a blade of live grass. There are still large areas of 'healthy' eelgrass but there are sharp boundaries between the vegetated and unvegetated areas. These bare areas roughly correspond to where we observed some very dense 'Chaetomorpha' mats last year in the fall, which may have contributed to the demise of the grass in these areas. We did not see very much 'Chaetomorpha' this week but did see some large mats of red algae in several places. These bare zones, which are clearly defined in the aerial photographs of this area, are significantly larger than anything we have observed in earlier surveys. However, some bare zones that we noted in prior years from the photography did 'recover' in subsequent years. The question of how rapidly these larger zones that we noted this week will recover remains to be answered by intensively monitoring them in subsequent years and will also depend on whether 'Chaetomorpha' mats reappear this year in the density and extent we noted in 1999.

  3. Recovery in some scars we monitored may also have been compromised by the presence of the macroalgae which we also noted last year.

Have a nice weekend.

Bob Orth

07/25/00 Julie Bortz, Aberdeen Proving Grounds (USAEC/ORISE)

Spesutie Island

I checked Spesutie Island (Quad 9) on Thursday. The Hydrilla is definitely up but doesn't appear to be growing out quite as deep as in years past. It does look very healthy however, just as do all the other SAV species we have up here.

It's really shaping up to be an excellent SAV year for us northern bay folk. We started off pretty slow but all the plants look really good. Only downside is we aren't seeing the dense Elodea cover in and around Dundee and Saltpeter Creeks (Quad 14) as in years past.

All of the plants are looking very healthy and will probably continue to do so if this summer stays on track. With all the run off and cool temps, we aren't seeing the epiphytic load on the plants we've seen in years past. And I really think that Floyd may actually have helped to propogate some new areas. It's really been a wierd year so far. We started really slow and it looked bleak but the plants have really taken off this past month and we are even seeing Vallisneria and a number of the Potamogetons flowering and seeding (P. pectinatus and P. Pusillus in particular-which I've never seen seed up here). This is all very early for Vallisneria to go to seed so i don't know what to make of it. I'm just excited and eager to see how the rest of the summer turns out.

07/18/00 Bob Orth, VIMS

SAV Aerial Update #1 - July 18, 2000 - Photography Flown 9/11


Greetings! I hope you all are having a good summer. In past years I have provided an update on the aerial photography when I have obtained it from Air Photographics. I apologize for the delay in getting this information out this year. This has been by far the most difficult year so far in obtaining good photography given the constraints we operate with (low sun angle, low tide, minimal wind, minimal cloud cover, low water turbidity). I have been in contact with Air Photographics almost daily, and sometimes several times a day, including from the field to give them the latest conditions of SAV growth in order to optimize obtaining good photographs. They have had fewer 'windows' than in past years. As a matter of fact, they have indicated that this past spring was one of the windiest not just in this area but nationwide!

Given this, we still have been able to get the photography from the entire lower Bay up to and including the Honga River on the Eastern Shore and the lower western shore tributaries up to and including the lower Potomac River. So here is what the photos are showing, but please remember none of the beds have been mapped or digitized, and what I present to you are based on my first observations from the photos. There have been a number of field observations reported by various individuals that match up with what I am seeing on the photography. Those observations have been posted to our web site.



BROAD BAY (flight lines 102, 103) (quad 152)- SAV (both eelgrass and widgeongrass) present in a narrow fringe in generally the same areas as previous years.

LYNNHAVEN RIVER (flight lines 102, 103) (quad 152)- no SAV except in one of our transplant site inshore of the oyster reef planted by VMRC. The plants (eelgrass) were very robust in each of the small plots which were planted in 1998.

LITTLE CREEK (flight line 102) (quad 151)- SAV (eelgrass) patchy near the mouth in a bed that has been much more dense in previous years. Further up, SAV (both eelgrass and widgeongrass) is expanding in the same general area as one of our 1996 transplant sites (eelgrass), which is also doing very well through this spring.

LOWER JAMES RIVER (flight line 101) (quads 147, 149)- SAV (all eelgrass) only in the section along the north shore from the Monitor Merrimac Bridge Tunnel to the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel. Beds are found primarily just east and west of the mouth of the Hampton River (which includes one of the sites from our large 1996 transplant effort), just below the Monitor Merrimac Bridge Tunnel (site of our 1997 and 1998 transplant plots), and the small bed adjacent to the shipyard just upriver from the tunnel.

LOWER YORK RIVER, MOBJACK BAY, POQUOSON FLATS AREA, INCLUDING BACK AND POQUOSON RIVERS (flight lines 91 to 98) (quads 122, 123, 131, 132, 139, 140, 141, 147) - SAV (both eelgrass and widgeongrass) still appears abundant in many of the same areas which represent a significant portion of the SAV in the lower western shore. However, offshore portions of the beds at Guinea Marshes and Goodwin Islands at mouth of York River and the large, offshore shoal area of the Poquoson Flats, continue to be very patchy this year. SAV in the upriver portions of the Ware and North rivers (Mobjack Bay) remain absent or sparse although there appears to be more SAV than in 1999.

PIANKATANK RIVER/MILFORD HAVEN (flight lines 89, 90, 91) (quads 118, 123) The only SAV in the Piankatank continues to remain on and just behind extensive shoal area at north end of Gwynn Island. Dense beds remain at the south end of Gwynn Island at 'the Hole in the Wall', although the large bed on the Bay side of 'the Hole in the Wall' has been substantially reduced in size from previous years, most likely due to the shifting sand bars in this section. There are many small, patchy to dense beds on west side of Gwynn Island in Milford Haven.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER (flight lines 87 a,b,c,d, 88) (quads 110, 111, 116, 117, 118) As in the past few years, there is very little SAV in the lower river (mouth to Moratico). What SAV remains is in the same areas we have observed in the recent few years, primarily along the north shore: very sparse beds which are much reduced in size at Windmill Pt.; a dense bed at the mouth of Carter Creek, along with some smaller, patchier beds from the Rt 3 bridge to the mouth of the Corrotoman River; dense beds in the Corrotoman River (this smaller trib of the Rappahannock R. contains most of the SAV in this region), and some smaller, scattered beds between the Corrotoman and Towles Point. Much of the SAV recorded here has been widgeongrass, except for the bed at Windmill Pt., which has contained eelgrass.

WINDMILL PT (MOUTH OF RAPPAHANNOCK) TO SMITH POINT (MOUTH OF POTOMAC) (flight lines 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 138) (quads 106, 112) SAV (both eelgrass and widgeongrass) present in same areas as in the past surveys: Fleets Bay, and Dymer, Indian, and Dividing creeks, Dameron Marsh, and Fleeton Point.


POTOMAC RIVER (**Note - some very intriguing changes in the lower section)

MARYLAND SIDE (Lines 68 - 71)(quads 80, 89) St. Mary's River - SAV doing quite well here in many of the same locations noted in 1999 (which had substantially increased over 1998).

St Georges Creek - patchy beds along Piney Pt. to the thoroughfare to the Potomac, and going upriver from Goose Pt.(quads 80, 89)

St. Clement Bay - BIG change here - SAV that was very abundant and very dense could not be observed anywhere (quads 69, 78).

Breton Bay - patchy SAV in locations noted in 1999 are absent (quads 69, 78).

Wicomico River - SAV appears to be substantially reduced here. Some SAV beds are present but are much further upriver. (Quad 58, 67, 68).

Cobb Island - SAV appears to be substantially reduced here, as well as around Neale Sound

Cuckhold and Picowaxen creeks - SAV appears to be substantially reduced here compared to previous years.

The Power Plant area - SAV does appear here but the coverage is less what has been noted in 1999

VIRGINIA SIDE (lines 72, 78 - 80) SAV appears to be substantially reduced or absent in many of the tributaries from the 301 bridge to the mouth of the river, notably Lower Machodoc Creek, Nomini Creek, Rosier Creek and Goldman Creek. The only creek that appears to have any significant SAV is the upper portions of Upper Machodoc Creek. The bed along the shoreline by the 301 bridge also appears much reduced from 1999. *********************************


FISHERMANS ISLAND, NORTH TO CAPE CHARLES UP TO AND INCLUDING NASSAWADOX CREEK (flight lines 139, 140, 141, 104, 105)- abundant SAV primarily at the mouths of many of the creeks (again similar to what has been reported in past surveys). Small patches of SAV (eelgrass) continue to persist at Fisherman's Island.

NASSAWADOX CREEK NORTH TO BIG MARSH AND CHESCONESSEX CREEK (flight lines 104-108) (quads 108, 113, 114, 119, 124) - abundant and dense SAV at all creek mouths, along the southern portion of Big Marsh, and very dense adjacent to Parker and Finney Islands, similar to past years.

POCOMOKE SOUND (flight lines 107,108, 109, 110) (quads 100, 101, 108, 109) Beds along the north side (MD portion), especially around Broad Creek, appear denser than in 1999. Beds along southern shore (VA portion) very dense especially Webb and Halfmoon Islands and adjacent to Big Marsh. The large bed west of Webb and Halfmoon Islands (see quad 108) is still present but very patchy. Other, smaller beds noted in previous years are still present, with some denser than what was noted in 1999.

WATTS ISLAND (flight line 111) (quad 107)- patchy SAV still present along the east side of island.

GREAT FOX ISLAND AREA (flight lines 109, 110, 111) (quad 100) SAV very dense along the east side of the Fox islands. Some areas that were patchy in 1998 and improving in 1999 have continued to increase in density. SAV still present just north of these islands along the western side of Cedar Island. Beds in Broad Creek more abundant this year.

TANGIER and SMITH ISLAND (flight lines 112, 113)(quads 91, 92, 99, 100,107)- SAV abundant in many of the same locations but many beds appear larger and denser than in 1999. Beds around Tangier very dense esp. in Mailboat Harbor. Some areas appear to have continued to rebound from 1998 (e.g. Back Cove and Terrapin Sand Cove). The large shallow water area near Ewell (the Big Thoroughfare) has more SAV compared to 1999, and many of the cut throughs to the island that were devoid of SAV appear vegetated this year.

HOLLAND ISLAND (flight lines 5, 6, 137) (quads 83, 91)- patchy beds along east side of the island.

SOUTHMARSH ISLAND (quad 91) - Beds persisting in Sheepshead Harbor, Pry Cove, Johnson Cove and are still dense. Large dense beds now back in Pungers Cove along east side of Island.

BLOODSWORTH ISLAND (flight lines 5, 6, 137) (quad 83)- significant amount of patchy to dense SAV beds between Adam and Northeast Island and into Northeast Cove at south end of Bloodsworth Beds. Okahanikan Cove still has dense stands of SAV.

LITTLE ANNEMESSEX RIVER (flight lines 110, 111) (quads 100, 101)- Dense beds at the mouth of the river on the south side, as well as many areas in and around Crisfield noted in previous surveys .

BIG ANNEMESSEX RIVER (flight lines 1, 1A)- SAV present primarily at or near the mouth (quad 93), and in the same areas as reported in the past.

DEAL ISLAND AND LOWER MANOKIN RIVER (flight lines 2, 3) - SAV beds in many of the same locations noted in 1999 (quad 84). Large, dense bed in Laws Thoroughfare and in the south end of Deal Island.

FISHING BAY - TEDIOUS CREEK - an area behind the breakwater on the north side of creek still appears to have some SAV which was noted in 1999.

HONGA RIVER, BARREN ISLAND, TAR BAY (flight lines 12-15) SAV very abundant at the Bishops Head area (quad 83); many beds mapped in 1999 in the Honga are denser and appear to have expanded (quads 73, 74). Beds that have reappeared around Barren Island and in Tar Bay in 1998 and 1999 are still present and they appear denser and larger this year (quads 72, 73).


Please share this with any other interested individuals or groups.

Bob (JJ)

07/14/00 Chris Lea, NPS

Update on Macroalga in Chincoteague Bay

During the last couple of weeks, our SAV people report what seems to be fairly substantial dieback of Chaetomorpha linum in the large SAV beds near Coards Marsh (Virginia, Quad 175) and Tingles Island (Maryland, Quad 170). The stuff is no longer present at the surface in large rolls at the surface in areas where it was abundant earlier in the year, but has subsided to the bottom, turned black, and is apparently decomposing. We don't remember seeing this level of dieback last year.

07/08/00 Peter Bergstrom, USFWS

SAV Ground truthing from Potomac and Severn Rivers

POTOMAC: Quad 40, National Colonial Farm, beds I4 (Bull Cove), J2, and K4 in 1998 report:

Some reduction in area and density from past years was noted.

I helped Kim Donahue, CBF lead a trip she had organized on 7/8/00, using CBF canoes. We found all of the species mapped there by USGS in past years (wild celery Va, milfoil Ms, spiny naiad Nm, hydrilla Hv, and a few patches of water stargrass Hd) but Kim said the bed size and density was reduced from recent years. Beds were fairly dense but not continuous.

SEVERN: Quad 23, from above bed R2 (Sunrise beach) downriver to bed C4 (Severn Grove) in 1998 report:

Major losses from past years were noted, mostly of widgeongrass. Some areas of redhead grass are still present.

I also worked with Kim and with several adult volunteers and campers from Sherwood Forest on a Severn SAV hunt using small motor boats yesterday (7/11). Searching from above Sunrise Beach down to Herald Harbor in the morning we found only VERY scattered individual shoots of horned pondweed Zp and short form widgeongrass Rm. Another group hunting on the north shore in that reach only found some Zp in Sullivan Cove and Yantz Creek. Near Sherwood Forest (just below the J4 label in 1998 report) we found only VERY scattered individual shoots of short form widgeongrass Rm. All of these areas had contiguous and fairly wide Rm beds to the surface in 1998 and 1999. The large bed at the mouth of Asquith Creek, where the SAV recovery in the Severn started in 1994, only has a few small, isolated patches of Redhead grass Ppf (about 5' in diameter) with scattered shoots of short form Rm. This bed was so dense in recent years that you could hardly walk through it, and now it is mostly bare bottom. I also checked some small "pioneer" beds of Ppf and other species that I had ground truthed in 1998 at the mouth of Clements Creek (beds E4, F4, and G4 in 1998 survey) and they were gone, with only a few shoots of Zp and short Rm remaining. Overall there may have been a loss a few hundred acres in the Severn since 1999, and most of the lost acreage was widgeongrass.

The only sizable beds we found (with 5 motorboats searching for a total of about 5 hours) were in Rays Pond and just outside it, next to the large new boat house. Rays Pond is unlabeled on the USGS quad map but is just downriver from Asquith Creek. Rays Pond had dense beds but they are mostly milfoil Ms with some Ppf and Zp, the same species I also found there on 5/25/00. The beds by the boathouse are mostly Ppf, which is mostly to the surface and in flower, interspersed with sparse Rm, some to the surface and a little bit of it in flower, and some bare areas. Both species were also present there on 5/25, although much shorter of course.

OTHER AREAS: Kim reported seeing declines this year in Dundee Creek on the Gunpowder River and in the Tred Avon (as she reported in a message on 6/24 posted on the VIMS web page at, and almost no SAV in the areas she checked in the Chester River. Bud Jenkins also reported declines in the lower Magothy River, where the few dense beds seen in recent years (Quad 24, beds QA4 and L4 in 1998 report) are much reduced in density this year. There are still beds in upper Grays Creek, however (Quad 24, W4 and X4 in 1998). On the PLUS side, Tangier Sound SAV seems to be doing very well this year (see message from Mike Haramis on 6/30 on VIMS web page).

I hope others will post reports from ground truthing they have done this year.

06/30/00 Mike Haramis, USGS BRD

Smith Island

Just a heads up----- SAV has returned to the Smith Island area (Quads 91, 92, 99, 100, in impressive form!!! You can look forward to your aerial survey results in this region to provide a substantial improvement. Ruppia and Zostera can accurately be described as occurring in meadows once again!! It is more "grass" than I have witnessed in my 6 years of intimate knowledge of the region. Even the crab scrapers are complaining because they can't scrape through it!! I have a picture of a scraper standing in the rain in oil slicks with his widgeongrass covered scrape hanging some ten feet over his head........ covered with SAV the whole way.!!! This is an interesting point that scrapers can only work the edge of these beds or clog their nets!!! ... and they can't catch crabs with clogged nets... This is testimony to the robustness of the present growth.

The SAV looks great all around Smith and down the Tangier shoal.. Widgeongrass is readily apparent at low tide... it is flowering extensively. Eelgrass is wind-rowed along the beaches the whole distance........ washed up likely from summer dieback. There also is more SAV in the interior Thorofare than there has been in years.

I didn't get to South Marsh and points north, but as mute swans enter their molt phase you can expect them to aggregate in an out of the way location with extensive SAV. If they are in the Holland Strait, Barren Island, Honga areas.... you can bet good SAV is present as well. I look forward to any positive responses you may report for SAV from aerial surveys in these regions.

Pelican colony on Shanks has greatly expanded... actually occupies 3 different sites now. 400+ young banded by Brinker's crew last week. Dead loggerhead on beach...... Menhaden netters working offshore in VA waters....

Have a good 4th!!!


06/24/00 Kim Donahue, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Tred Avon and Dundee Creek

Spent part of this weekend on the Tred Avon (Quad 38) with volunteers doing training and groundtruthing. I have looked at this river three times this year and have not found much SAV. The beds that are marked from 98 and 99 show grasses all around the shorelines (98) and some big, dense beds in places. We found horned pondweed and widgeon grass, but there was not much of it and it was very sparse. We observed some amounts of each floating and along the shore, but not much floating either. Lots of mute swans have been seen by folks on the river.

BTW, we extensively surveyed Dundee Creek (Quad 14) and it is also substantially less dense than in previous years.

Kim Donahue

06/23/00 Harry Womack, Salisbury State University

Nanticoke River

I was up on the Nanticoke this afternoon looking at a Critical Areas violation when I saw a ton of Ruppia lining the entire length of Rags Thoroughfare (Quad 163). It was sparse at where Rags enters the river (just east of Bouy 22) and inceased steadily as I went deeper into the marsh (clarity?). I did not do the entire system (time and gas shortage), but found great beds from 38.25.05N x 75.50.01W to 38.24.98N X 75.49.92W. The beds were found in the shallow water on each side of the creek, and in the center when depth was less than 1 meter.

The odd things about these beds are their distance up the river from the bay, and the total lack of SAV in the river proper (almost surely a function of turbidity- there is plenty of nice bottom).

05/12/00 Peter Bergstrom, USFWS

Shallow Creek

Mike Norman and I visited Shallow Creek yesterday (VIMS quad 19, mouth of Patapsco) and checked the sites where we planted SAV a year ago, and also planned sites for planting this year on June 27-28. We got some good news and bad news.

The good news was that the natural SAV beds in the creek are doing well, especially those other than milfoil, and are larger than we had found in previous years. The small Wild celery and Sago pondweed beds we had found last year in the "outer cove" are much larger this year, and extend along 100' of shoreline or more, interspersed with short horned pondweed and Muskgrass (Chara). We also found a small patch of curly pondweed in the outer cove which we had not found in the creek before. The milfoil, as before, is mostly in the calmer upper reaches of the creek, although we didn't have time to check it.

The bad news is that we could find no traces of the SAV we planted last year, and we saw over a dozen each of mute swans and resident Canada geese. These was also fairly extensive filamentous algae in most of our likely planting sites, although it seemed to be staying on the bottom. Both the birds and the algae made us glad that we will be enclosing most of the plants in fencing this year. We used no fencing last year and found evidence of grazing five weeks after planting.

05/26/00 Harry Womack, Salisbury State University

Coastal Bays

While out looking at SAV down in your fair state (Va.) the other day I encountered something I had not known of. There is a beautiful huge bed of Zostera between the northern end of Chincoteague and Assateague. The beds went as deep as 12 ft and the water was gin clear on a day when the Bay proper was really murky. It is interesting as a site to go and work with SAV even in bad visibility. It might also be interesting to see how these beds differ from the shallower bay beds given their depth.

More and more I am convinced that the major factor limiting SAV in the Chincoteague is turbidity due to sediments.

I went out on the Bays last Friday , leaving from Johnson's Bay at about 10:30 a.m. going through Parker Bay (Quad 172), then outside Tizzard Island (Quad 172), to the duck blinds, then over to Assategaue (Quad 173). I proceeeded south along Assateague until I neared an area almost parallel to the City of Chincoteague(Quad 175), then turned around, came back north along Assateague back into Maryland past Pope's Bay up to the area where the scallop experiments are being carried out. I them proceeded back to the duck blinds, then home. The most remarkable observation made were the extent of Zostera beds in Parker Bay, the exteme water clarity beween Assateague and Chincoteague (and the depth and health of the beds there), and the relative absence of the algal problem reported by Wazniak last week (indicating that wherever the problem was, it was somewhat localized and not observed in the area studied).

I did check out your map 175 (as well as a few others). Will take them on future trips to mark spots. When I get a chance I'll go back to the area between Assategaue and Chincoteague and locate sites on a map. Observations are made with a rake, in that I make quite a few, am alone, and getting in and out, etc. takes a lot of time. In deep water it is very difficult to snorkel. Below are the field notes I took, arranged by lat/long, description of sites, and observations made.

Site Lat/Lon Location Map Observation
1 38 04.47 N
75 20.30 W
South side of Tizzard Island 172 Dense Zostera, no algae. Spoke with crabber in middle of Johnson Bay, who indicated no particular problem with grasses, and noununsual observations. He indicated that there was more algae next to Assateague, that it came up from deeper areas around this time of year and that there was nothing unusual about it.
2-3 numerous sites Parker Bay 172 Large patches of Zostera throughout. no algae
4 38 02.46 N
75 20.65 W
East side of Mills Island 172 Zostera, no algae
5 38 00.07 N
75 20.00 W
Sea duck blinds 172 Zostera, no algae
6 37 59.69 N
19 74.00 W
Between small island and Assateague 175 Dense Zostera, no algae
7 37 59.17 N
75 18.33 W
Between Assateague and Chincoteague, two nothernmost houses 175 Dense Zostera, no algae, depth 11-12 ft.
8 37 59.29 N
75 19.07 W
Between assateague and Chinocteague 175 11-12 ft, deep- dense Zostera, no algae
9 37 57.29 N
38 19.04 W
Two houses Chincoteague 175 Dense Zostera, no algae
10 37 59.27 N
75 19.17 W
Main Bay 172 Zostera +2, no algae
11 38 00.35 N
75 18.40 W
Main Bay 172 Zostera +2, no algae
12 38 01.14 N
75 17.12 W
Main Bay 172 Zostera +2, minor stringy green algae
13 38 01.70 N
75 16.75 W
Main Bay 172 Zostera +4, no algae
14 38 02.55 N
75 15.61 W
Main Bay 172 Zostera +4, no algae
15 38 03.36 N
75 15.92 W
Main Bay 172 Zostera +4, no algae
16 38 04.23 N
75 15.15 W
Main Bay 172 Zostera +4, no algae
17 38 04.98 N
75 13.11 W
Bay with scallop pens 173 Zostera +2, much fouling, variety of algae, most red, brown.
18 38 05.05 N
75 13.20 W
173 Zostera +4, patchy algae, none stringy

I returned to the duck blinds area and did numerous checks. Having been convinced earlier that the bed was not as dense as I had remembered I probably made about a dozen observations, all pretty good Zostera +4, but no algae.

05/05/00 Mike Weldon, Aberdeen Proving Grounds

Spesutie Narrows, Gunpowder and Bush Rivers, Dundee Creek

Last week (May 5th) I measured salinity in Spesutie Narrows (Quad 9) and on the other side of the causeway and it measured 0.1 ppt in and out of the Narrows. Salinity in Bush River (Quad 14) as of May 9th ranged from 0.1 to 0.2 ppt, with Secchi depths ranging from 0.97 to 0.31 m. In the Gunpowder River (Quad 14) salinity and Secchi depths measured May 3rd ranged from 0.2 to 0.5 ppt, and 0.29 to 1.02 m respectively. Salinity measured in Dundee Creek (Quad 14) April 28th ranged from 0.5 to 0.6 ppt, with Secchi depths ranging from 0.56 to 1.47 m. Transplants of Vallisneria americana in the Gunpowder River from 1998 are approximately 0.3 m tall as are "wild" Vallisneria beds throughout the Gunpowder. The transplants from 1999 have not emerged from the sediments yet but as water temperatures at this site are very similar to those at the other transplant site, I fear the 1999 transplants failed. Presently, Vallisneria and Potamogeton perfoliatus plants are "clean" (i.e. very little epiphytic growth). In Dundee Creek Vallisneira americana appears to be the only species growing there of any major abundance. Ground truthing has resulted in very little to almost no Elodea, which by this time should be fairly abundant in Dundee Creek. We also found minor amounts of Myriophllum spicatum. I also ground truthed Spesutie Narrows and found nothing. Well take care and we will keep you posted through the growing season.

Thanks Mike

05/12/00 Peter Bergstrom, USFWS

Parrotfeather (Myriophyllum brasiliense)

I have learned the following about Parrotfeather from three ponds where it has occurred in Anne Arundel County:

This exotic and invasive species (introduced from South America, probably via the aquarium trade) appears to be limited to nontidal fresh water. It appears to grow best in shallow ponds (2 feet deep or less), where it can fill a pond from shore to shore so that no water is visible. It apparently can be eradicated by draining the pond. It often, but not always, has gray-green tufts that grow out of the water, rising as much as 2-3" above the surface.

The shallow pond (2 feet deep or less) that was filled from shore to shore is at Downs Park in Pasadena, MD, on the Chesapeake Bay just north of the Magothy River (on Gibson Island quad #24, just to the right of the "Locust Cove" label). The pond is separated from the bay by a beach and only rarely gets salt water at high tide. Parrotfeather was introduced there about 5 years ago by a ranger who did not know it was so invasive. It came from a smaller pond at the park, where it had been donated by a citizen with exotic SAV in a pond. It disappeared from the larger pond in 1999, and has not returned yet this year, after the pond dried out completely during the drought (you could walk across it).

Two ponds nearby have some Parrotfeather but are not covered (yet); they are probably deeper than the pond at Downs Park. I don't have a way to get a boat on either pond to check the depth, however.

One pond (Pippin's Pond) is on Cattail Creek (which drains to the Magothy), on Round Bay quad #23, on the southern branch just upstream from the straight highway which is MD 2 (and which largely created the pond with help from beavers). It had some Parrotfeather last year and seems to have more this year, with tufts covering about 1/3 of the surface now. Source of the plants is not known but the pond is used for fishing.

The other pond is on Gingerville Creek which drains to South River and is near our office. This is on South River Quad #30, just below the "SOUMH" label on the 1998 map. It has had Parrotfeather for at least 4 years but the plants are limited to one shore of the pond, coverage is intermittent, and it mainly sticks above the water late in the growing season. Right now it only sticks up above the water in the very shallowest parts of the pond ( a few inches deep). The pond gets a heavy load of suspended sediment from construction along Admiral Cochrane Drive and nearby, and it appears to be several feet deep in the middle. Source of the plants is not known.

Any other observations on this species are welcome, especially relating the percent cover to the depth of the pond.