Monitoring > Field Observations > 2001
2001 Field Observations and a First Look at the Aerial Photography
  • 11/08/01 Bob Orth, VIMS - SAV Aerial Update #6 (Nanjemoy, Potomac and Aquia creeks)
  • 10/23/01 Peter Bergstrom, USFWS - Severn & Magothy Rivers
  • 10/22/01 Bob Orth, VIMS - VIMS SAV restoration program - 2001 summary
  • 10/15/01 Bob Orth, VIMS - SAV Aerial Update #5 (Choptank, Chester, Honga Rivers; Tar Bay; South Marsh, Bloodsworth, Holland, and Barren Islands; Still Pond Creek; Upper Rappahannock River; and Coastal Bays)
  • 09/26/01 Julie Bortz, USAEC/ORISE - Spesutie Narrows and Dundee Creek
  • 09/19/01 Bob Orth, VIMS - SAV Aerial Update #4 (Sassafras, Elk, Bohemia, Pamunkey, and Mattaponi Rivers; Susquehanna Flats, Upper Potomac River, and Middle and Upper James River)
  • 09/07/01 Charlie Conklin and Zane Carter - Churn and Still Pond Creeks; Comegys Bight, Comegys Creek and Fore Creek
  • 09/07/01 Mike Fritz, USEPA - Rose Haven SAV
  • 08/15/01 Peter Bergstrom, USFWS - SAV in Shallow Creek
  • 08/13/01 Bob Orth, VIMS - SAV Aerial Update #3 (Eastern Bay, Choptank, Little Choptank, Patuxent, Rhode, West, Severn, and South Rivers)
  • 08/12/01 Tom Filip, USACE - Frog Mortar Creek, Middle River
  • 08/09/01 Bob Orth, VIMS - SAV Aerial Update #2 (Lower Potomac River)
  • 07/19/01 Jenn Aiosa & Marcy Damon, CBF - Goose Creek, Port Tobacco River
  • 07/15/01 Jill Bieri, CBF & the Chester River Association - Chester River and Eastern Neck Island
  • 07/14/01 Nancy Rybicki, USGS - Mattowoman and Piscataway creeks, Potomac River
  • 07/09/01 Peter Bergstrom, USFWS - Poplar Island and Harris creek
  • 07/08/01 Harry Womack, Salisbury State University
  • 07/03/01 Peter Bergstrom, USFWS; Marcy Damon, CBF - Magothy River, Cornfield Creek and James Pond
  • 07/02/01 Bob Orth, VIMS - SAV Aerial Update #1 (Lower Bay)
  • 06/26/01 Kent Mountford - Honga River, Maryland
  • 06/21/01 Mike Maylor, Md. DNR - Sassafras River
  • 06/13/01 Kent Mountford - St Leonard Creek, Patuxent River, Maryland
  • 06/10/01 Pierre Henkart - Severn River
  • 06/09/01 Melvin Bende - Horned pondweed in Forked Creek, Magothy River
  • 06/04/01 Donna and Bill Cox - Horned pondweed in Cox Creek
  • 06/02/01 Mary Hollinger - Black Swamp Creek & Wayson's Corner, Patuxent River, MD
  • 06/01/01 Mike Maylor, Md. DNR - College Creek, Severn River
  • 05/10/01 Lynton Land - Little Wicomico
  • 05/08/01 Lynton Land - Little Wicomico
  • 05/01/01 Drew Koslow, Md. DNR - Horned Pond Weed in Duvall Creek
  • 04/10/01 Bob Orth, VIMS - VIMS field report #1 (James & York rivers)
  • 03/25/01 Drew Koslow, Md. DNR - Redhead in Harness Creek, South River

11/08/01 Bob Orth, VIMS

SAV Aerial Update #6.

Nanjemoy, Potomac and Aquia creeks


In my last note, I explained the difficulties we were experiencing in completing the 2001 aerial survey because of airspace restrictions due to the tragedy of Sept. 11. There were a number of suggestions for contacts which I appreciate, one of which brought in a DOD individual now serving as their Bay environmental coordinator (Mr. Glenn Markwith). Air Photographics also continued their attempts to secure entry on a daily basis to restricted areas. Unfortunately, despite repeated attempts, nothing worked and we finally had to admit we were beaten. We tried but air security was too tight (but certainly justified). As of today, we officially ended the 2001 aerial survey, which will result in an incomplete data set (similar to 1999 but for very different reasons).

We were able to get a few remaining lines in the mid-Potomac river around Nanjemoy, Potomac and Aquia creeks (we had to revise pre-determined lines to get these systems). Those photographs did show extensive SAV in each area and certainly pointed to what was an excellent year of SAV in the upper Potomac River. Just to let you know how desperate we were in trying to get photography, we even explored having Air Photographics fly at an extreme angle at the edge of restricted air space to get oblique photos of those areas just inside that region. Believe-it-or-not, we got one excellent oblique photo of Nanjemoy Creek, which after photo-rectification, should prove useful in getting an SAV estimate for that creek.

So, here is what we did not fly and the alternatives, if applicable, that we used to get SAV coverage:

  • Flight lines 42, 45, and 46: while these lines were not flown, or in the case of 46 was supposed to be reflown, a new line, 44A, covered the lower half of the Susquehanna Flats, and the upper half of 46 was adequate to cover Spesutie Narrows and the lower portions of Romney Creek.
  • Flight line 47 - Bush River (no SAV coverage for 2001)
  • Flight lines 48, 49, 50, and 51: Gunpowder and Middle rivers (including Dundee Creek) (no SAV coverage for 2001)
  • Flight line 52, 53: Patapsco River (includes Shallow Creek) (no SAV coverage for 2001)
  • Flight lines 54, 55, 56, and 57: Magothy River and the north side of the Severn River (no SAV coverage for 2001 except for the south shore of the Severn)
  • Flight line 33: Bayside of the eastern shore from Eastern Neck Island north to Rock Hall (no SAV coverage for 2001)
  • Flight line 38: Bayside of the eastern shore from Rock Hall to Churn Creek (We got SAV coverage for Churn Creek from another line)
  • Flight lines 123, 123A, 124, 125, 126, 127, and 128: This will be the biggest gaping hole in the survey as it covers the area from just south of Quantico north to Broad Creek (no SAV coverage for 2001).
  • Flight line 119, 120: Nanjemoy Creek and the area along the mainstem north and south of the mouth of Nanjemoy Creek. We have that one oblique photo plus some lines that were also reconfigured around the restricted space that may cover this area.

Please note we will now be checking into any other alternative photography, or even satellite photography, that may have been taken of the above areas after the Sept. 11 tragedy, to try and cover as many holes as possible. If any of you know potential sources of alternative photography, please get in touch with Dave Wilcox at VIMS (

This will be the final aerial update for 2001. If you missed any of the previous updates, you can access them from the VIMS SAV web site.

If you are wondering why you may not have seen any preliminary maps for the 2001 data on our web site, there will be some delay. The reason - we are switching to a digital orthophoto-based method for the 2001 mapping effort, one of the more significant changes we will have made in the history of the aerial survey. We have developed and implemented the new system, and we are working on orthorectifying the photography right now. Since we will be interpreting the photos on screen for the first time in the baywide survey, our QA/QC will be more involved this year. This is slowing the release of preliminary maps, which we hope to start releasing in early Jan. 2002. However, we do not expect any significant delays in the release of the 2001 data by the spring. We do expect this new system will have many benefits to our user groups. So stay tuned.

One final note - we will also be putting the 2000 final report on our web site in the next few weeks. Dave Wilcox will send out a note when it goes up on the web site and is available to all user groups.

I hope you all have a safe rest of the year and all try not to forget just what is really important in our lives!

Bob (JJ)

10/23/01 Peter Bergstrom, US FWS

Severn & Magothy Rivers

At Bob's request, Jason Miller & I checked the Severn & Magothy yesterday to see if there was enough SAV left to make it worthwhile to keep trying to fly them. I concluded that is was. Both had widgeon and redhead but it is starting to die back, more so in the Magothy, but would still be clearly visible. We found Secchi depths in Severn of 1.7 m, and in Magothy 1.05 to 1.2 m, both pretty good. Salinities were high in both rivers, 15-16 ppt measured by refractometer.

In the Severn, the widgeongrass (Rm) on the South Shore was not back to 99 levels, but showed a large increase over 2000. We found more or less continuous Rm from the southern edge of Round Bay (bed DA4 on quad 23 in 1999) downriver past the breakwater off Brewer Pond and past Sherwood main pier, to a point off Sherwood Forest (Robin Hood area) before Brewer Point where there was a gap. Patchy Rm then started up again near Brewer Point and continued with some gaps on the mainstem S shore from there to the mouth of Luce Creek, where we crossed the river to head back. As in past years we found more species growing in the mouths of the creeks: Redhead (Ppf), Rm, and new fall growth of horned pondweed (Zp) in Clements Creek; Eurasian watermilfoil (Ms), Rm, and Ppf in Saltworks; Ms, Rm, Ppf, and sago pondweed (Ppc) in Martins Pond; and Ms, Ppc, and Ppf in Luce Creek. Crossing to the north shore, we found no SAV in Cool Spring Cove, and Rm beds on the north shore started between that cove and Chase Creek, a bit farther upriver than where they started in 1999 (Quad 23 bed P2), but farther downriver than where they started in 2000. We had to move to the Magothy at that point.

In the Magothy, the wild celery (Va) on South Ferry Point was almost gone, but there were still Ppf beds there. We saw more Ulva than on the Severn, and most of the SAV had died back more than in the Severn. The beds mapped outside Forked creek in 2000 (Quad 24, beds A3 & B3) were both present, with Ppf & Ppc and Ppf & Rm respectively. Downriver from Ulmstead Point on the south shore, the 2000 bed C3 (Quad 24) had sparse Ppc, Ppf, and Rm. The next bed downriver, the bed near Stonington (beds E1 & F3 on 2000 Quad 24), was still present and had Rm, Ppf, and Ulva. The Ppf had lots of epiphytes, but was quite dense in many parts of the bed.

10/22/01 Bob Orth, VIMS

VIMS SAV restoration program - 2001 summary


For those of you who are interested in SAV restoration work in Chesapeake Bay, below is a summary of the VIMS SAV restoration efforts for 2001. We would be interested in hearing of the accomplishments of the other groups who were involved in SAV restoration this past year.

Our program continued to emphasize the use of seeds for eelgrass
restoration programs in 2001 while the freshwater component emphasized adult plants. (Our eelgrass work is being funded by the Virginia Saltwater Recreational Fishing License Fund and VA's Coastal Resources Management Program in the Dept. of Environmental Quality. The freshwater work is being funded by the Hopewell Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility).

We collected an estimated 6.6 million eelgrass seeds from the lower York River and Mobjack Bay between May 14 and June 1, in approximately 200 man hours, or 33,000 seeds per person hour. This represented the collection of 1210 kg wet (2662 lbs) weight of shoot material. During the summer, approximately 10% of those seeds decayed before we used them in our experiments. In late September and October, we dispersed the seeds in the following locations.

Test plots and large seed dispersals in South Bay (a Virginia coastal bay) from 1998, 1999 and 2000 have been extremely successful. As a result, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission set aside from private leasing approximately 400 acres of bottom in South Bay to allow restoration to continue. We broadcast twelve one acre plots with 100,000 seeds each, and twelve one acre plots broadcast with 200,000 seeds (time required 5 hours) (total = 3,600,000 seeds). We also started sampling the region intensively for resident fauna, so that as restoration progresses we can document any changes in faunal community as South Bay shifts from algal-dominated communities to seagrass-dominated communities.

(NOTE: seed densities used here were based on data from seed density
experiments we conducted over the last two years that balanced survivorship of the seedlings and potential growth of the seedlings)

COBB ISLAND BAY (a Virginia coastal bay just north of South Bay)
We broadcast two one acre plots with 100,000 seeds, and two one acre plots with 200,000 seeds (time required 3 hours) (total = 600,000 seeds). We also planted a few small adult plant test plots in this area.

MAGOTHY BAY (a Virginia coastal bay just south of South Bay)
Plantings from the past few years have had some limited success. As a result, we added six one acre plots broadcast with 100,000 seeds (time required 2 hours) (total = 600,000 seeds)

Along the northern shore of the James, which has been a major focus of our larger adult plant transplantings since 1996 and where we have had considerable success at a site near the Monitor -Merrimac bridge tunnel, we broadcast four one acre plots with 100,000 seeds, and three one acre plots with 200,000 seeds (time required 3 hours) (total = 1,000,000 seeds)

TOTAL - 5.8 million seeds broadcast into 41 acres.

We continued with an experiment from last fall, which is examining how the input of seeds affects patch survival. This year, we placed 5000 seeds in 6 plots (2 different treatments) at three sites - York River, James River, and South Bay (total = 90,000 seeds).

This fall, CBF staff hired a mechanized planting machine from Florida to plant eelgrass in the Rappahannock and James Rivers. We worked with CBF staff to test this method with an experiment that compares the success of side-by-side machine plantings and plantings using the VIMS unanchored adult shoot method (Orth, Harwell, and Fishman. Aq. Bot (1999) 64:77-85). We are also adding test plots with seeds to compare shoot production among all three methods. We are checking the test sites at one week and one month intervals and then again in 8 months at the end of the eelgrass growing season.


Four sites in the upper James River near Hopewell were transplanted with shoots of Vallisneria in the late spring. Each of the sites had at least replicated plots, which were fenced in with plastic chicken wire type fencing to keep out macro grazers. One site was planted entirely by CBF the other three by VIMS, CBF, and the City of Hopewell. The SAV plantings had various degrees of survival but plants did survive at all sites. Survival was related in large part to the capacity of the fencing to keep out grazing fish, turtles, etc. Several plots were transplanted outside of the fencing and all of these plants were gone within one month. Several other species including elodea, coontail and sago pondweed were also planted in small areas both in and out of the exclosures but all were gone within two months. Water quality was typical of previous years (ie. secchi 0.35-0.5m) but at the shallow depth of planting (<0.5m) they seemed to be doing fine. Epiphyte fouling was not measured but was relatively minor consisting mostly of attached sediment. A wide range of sediment types were transplanted at the different sites (ie. organic content 3 to 8%) but the plants seem to do well in each, including those where you would sink 6 in. by walking. In mid-season the shoots ranged to over 1m in length with some flowering observed.


LYNNHAVEN RIVER - VIMS and CBF adult plantings and seed dispersals from 1999 and 2000 were doing well in the spring. However, they were heavily epiphytized. Unfortunately, no plants were visible as of last week. We will keep monitoring to see if anything is growing next spring.

10/15/01 Bob Orth, VIMS

SAV Aerial Update #5.

Choptank, Chester, Honga Rivers; Tar Bay; South Marsh, Bloodsworth, Holland, and Barren Islands; Still Pond Creek; Upper Rappahannock River; and Coastal Bays


In my last aerial update on Sept. 17, I highlighted the issues of airspace restrictions due to the Sept. 11 tragedy. The restrictions are divided into two regions:

  1. A 25 mile radius around Washington, DC, and
  2. A secondary zone east of the 25 mile radius extending out of the Bay over to Eastern Bay and includes portion of the Patuxent R., Severn, South, Magothy and and Gunpowder rivers (this region is called Class B).
As of this date, the 25 mile radius around DC is being strictly enforced. Entrance into the Class B area has been very tight, and highly variable, where entrance into the Class B allowable on some days. Our contractor, Air Photographics, has been in daily contact with the groups in charge of air space security and all they can do is continue to try to get clearance into any area allowed at any time. Another area which will be difficult to access is airspace over Aberdeen Proving Grounds (APG). This area has been problematic before with Air Photographics usually getting permission only during weekends, but as of now, its likely that this airspace will remain closed.

I have been working with the contractor to figure out how we can get whatever flight lines we can before the SAV populations die back. Fortunately, we have been lucky that water temperatures have been quite favorable for extended growth of the freshwater populations. In addition, we have been reorienting some flight lines to try to get any coverage around the three restricted areas. For example, line 45 goes N-S from Havre de Grace into APG. That line cannot be flown, so in order to get complete coverage of the Susquehanna Flats we reconfigured a line parallel to 44 (an east-west line) which covers the upper portion of the Flats. The new line, 44A which also runs east-west, covers the lower Flats area just above the APG restricted area. We were able to get that line flown on Oct. 9. The water clarity was "outstanding" as SAV can be seen in many areas. This means we now have complete coverage of the entire Susquehanna Flats area. We did fly line 46, which is in the APG restricted air space, before 9-11. Line 46 goes from APG south to the mouth of the Gunpowder. Although the southern portion of the line was unacceptable, the northern portion over Spesutie Narrows, and Little Romney and Romney Creeks, was adequate to give us coverage of that area. So we actually have been fortunate to get the major chunk of the upper Bay completed.

If the worst case scenario persists and we are not allowed to get into all restricted areas, we would not have coverage of portions of the South and Severn rivers, and none of the Magothy, Gunpowder and Bush rivers and a small portion of the bayside eastern shore from Eastern Neck Island north to the mouth of Still Pond Creek. In addition, we would not have coverage of the Potomac River from Broad Creek to Quantico Creek. If Class B lines open up and we can get them soon, the only areas we would not get would be the Gunpowder River area to the Bush River and the Potomac River lines.

Below is what we have completed (or reflown) from Sept. 8 to the present:

CHESTER RIVER (flight lines 34-37 flown on 10-3) (quads 21, 22, 26, 27)
Very little SAV noted anywhere including around the Chester River side of the Eastern Neck Narrows. There are SAV beds at the mouth of Queenstown Creek, patchy to dense beds from Winchester and Jackson Creek to the Narrows, esp. in the coves, and a few other areas that are very small and almost not detectable. It is certainly much less than what we have noted in earlier surveys.

SOUTH MARSH, BLOODSWORTH AND HOLLAND ISLANDS AND HONGA RIVER, BARREN ISLAND, TAR BAY (flight lines 6, 7, 137, 13, 14, 15 flown on Oct. 10) (quads 72, 73, 74, 83, 91)
These areas were initially flown on June 19, and while SAV was noted (and highlighted in my first update back in June), the lines flown on Oct. 10 revealed "very" dense populations in these same locations, and in some cases, denser beds. As these areas are dominated by widgeongrass, it appears this species is persisting through the fall, especially the flowering portions which gives the "richer" signature on the photo. This is being confirmed from ground observations in several areas of the Bay that are showing widgeongrass still flowering abundantly even up to this past week (e.g., lower Rappahanock River).

Densest beds are evident east of Holland Island, east of Adam Islands at the south end of Bloodsworth Island, and the Tar Bay and Barren Island area, as well as a number of locations in the Honga.

CHOPTANK RIVER (flight lines 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24 were flown on Oct. 3 - Note: 23, and 24 were reflown from an earlier flight on Aug. 2)
SAV beds are present in the lower portions of Tred Avon river and especially Broad Creek. Lines 23 and 24 were also flown earlier but reflown Oct. 3 as some portions in the earlier flight had too much sunglint. It was interesting to note that many of the SAV beds noted back in Aug. are still persisting and some even denser than in Aug.

STILL POND CREEK (line 38A flown on Oct. 9 - Note line 38 is in the restricted zone but AP got this line just inshore of line 38). The photos, which covers most of Still Pond Creek, show dense SAV populations along both shores of the lower portions of this creek.

UPPER RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER (lines 142, 143 flown on Oct. 3) (quads 200, 201) SAV present adjacent to Horse Head Pt., Drakes Marsh, and Otterburn Marsh (similar to past years).

COASTAL BAYS, VA AND MD (Lines 114-116, first flown on July 12 and reflown on Oct. 10)
The Oct. 10 flight was "outstanding" as water clarity was excellent, and like last year's Oct. flight, many bottom features well outside the beds are quite visible, e.g., sand waves in the deeper portions of Sinepuxent Bay. Beds are clearly outlined in all the major areas noted in previous surveys. The large area around Tingles Island that we noted last year as having little SAV is still very sparsely vegetated but it appears from the photos some patches may be showing up. Ground surveys from the Park Service should confirm this. New hydraulic dredge scars are visible in what should have been closed areas.

A FINAL NOTE: If any one knows someone who might be able to give our contractor special clearance into even the Class B zone, please let me know ASAP, as we probably have at least to the end of October to finish what we can. Also, if you have heard of anyone who may have been out taking photography for other purposes in the restricted areas, e.g., highway departments, consulting firms, or even amateur photographers who fly around the Bay, please let me know. We may be able to piece some of that to help in any final interpretations of SAV distribution.

Please share any of this with interested parties.

Bob (JJ)

09/26/01 Julie Bortz, Aberdeen Proving Grounds (USAEC/ORISE)

Spesutie Narrows and Dundee Creek

We groundtruthed Spesutie Narrows this almost looks as good as dundee creek as far as coverage only Hv replaces Ec and Ngd. The beds have more than doubled in size from last year!!!

It really would be great to have it flown because this year has really been phenomenal. I'll keep you posted.

09/19/01 Bob Orth, VIMS

SAV Aerial Update #4.

Sassafras, Elk, Bohemia, Pamunkey, and Mattaponi Rivers; Susquehanna Flats, Upper Potomac River, and Middle and Upper James River


The weather again cooperated in early September and Air Photographics was able to fly parts of the James, York and Potomac rivers, and the Susquehanna Flats area on Sept. 5, 6, 7, and 8. Though a large portion of the Bay has now been flown, we still have flight lines remaining in several areas. As you might expect, the closure of air space due to the tragedies of the last week has impacted all flight activities, including those of our contractor. I have been in touch with them on a daily basis and they have not yet been given any information as to when they will be able to resume full operations. At present they are allowed to fly with IFR (flight plan approved with instruments) only, not VFR (visual flight plan which is what they use for all aerial mapping projects). They have been given no indication when that will change. One problem that will be an issue even if they get permission for VFR flights will be areas around DC and the "restricted" air space of Aberdeen Proving Grounds (APG). The APG air space includes the area over the Gunpowder and Bush rivers, parts of the Susquehanna Flats and the shoreline from Eastern Neck Island to the mouth of the Sassafras River. While the possibility of not completing the 2001 survey is of concern, it is secondary to the security issues that we must all now face in light of the events of last week. The depth and magnitude of this tragedy have been almost impossible to grasp, and in particular, the grief that so many innocent people and their families and loved ones are facing. We will certainly do our best to complete the survey, but in this time of national tragedy that has worldwide implications, our issue is of minor significance. I believe you will all agree with me.

I'll keep you posted if anything changes.


SASSAFRAS RIVER (flight line 39) (Quads 9, 10, 16, 17)
SAV beds are impressive! There is patchy to dense SAV along the mainstem of the lower portion of this river from Betterton to Turner Creek on the south shore and Grove Pt. to Cox Creek on the north shore. Very dense beds are present in Lloyd Creek and Money creeks. The photography confirms the ground observations made by MD DNR staff.

ELK AND BOHEMIA RIVERS (flight lines 40 and 41) (Quads 4, 5, 10)
SAV in these two systems continue to show impressive positive changes. There is patchy to dense SAV along the entire length of the Elk. SAV is present along both shores of the Bohemia River to the Rt. 213 bridge.

SUSQUEHANNA FLATS AND RIVER AND ADJACENT AREAS (flight lines 41, 43 and 44 only; 42, 45 and 46 not flown because of air space restrictions) (Quads 2, 3, 4, 9, 10)
Dense SAV beds are present from Perry Pt. to Furnace Bay, with very dense beds in Furnace Bay. Beds on the Flats, especially those noted in the past two years at the northeast end just below Furnace Bay have continued to expand and increase in density. All SAV beds in the lower Susquehanna R. are very dense, including those around Garrett Island.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER (flight lines 129-132; DC to Broad Creek) (Quads 28, 29, 34, 40)
SAV is incredibly thick in many sections of the area flown but especially in the cove off Belle Haven marina and in the large bed in the middle of the river by the bridge, and off the airport. It is interesting to see the substantial area of SAV that has been lost due to the bridge construction. And there is a large barge sitting on the grass bed off Belle Haven marina (is there anyone around to make sure that these barges stay in deep water?) (It feels strange to look at the photos of the Pentagon and airport with planes taking off and landing knowing what will happen in just a few days after those photos were taken on Sept. 8).

PAMUNKEY RIVER (flight lines 151 and 152) (Quads 228, 229)
SAV beds are present adjacent to the marshes from around the Pamunkey Indian Reservation to Broad Creek. Ground surveys this year found Hydrilla dominating most of those beds, with minor occurrences of Ceratophyllum, Vallisneria and Najas quadilupensis.

MATTAPONI RIVER (flight lines 148 and 149) (Quads 225, 226)
While few SAV beds were noted on the aerial photographs, ground surveys this year found Hydrilla dominating most of those beds, with minor occurrences of Vallisneria, Ceratophyllum, Ruppia, Elodea and Najas quadilupensis.

MIDDLE AND UPPER JAMES RIVER (flight lines 153-165) (Quads 127, 128, 135, 136, 137, 138, 210)
The only SAV beds noted this year are again in Grays, Upper Chippokes, and Wards creeks; and in the Chickahominy River. In the Chickahominy River, where most of the SAV is concentrated, SAV is present in Nayses Bay, Morris Creek, and adjacent to most marshes along the mainstem from the Rt. 5 bridge to Turner Neck. Ground surveys by CBF staff and volunteers and VIMS staff found Najas minor and Ceratophyllum dominating beds from the mouth to Lobbs Creek with Hydrilla dominating beds from Lobbs Creek to Turner Neck. SAV in many locations are found in beds of emergent vegetation. Vallisneria and Najas quadilupensis were found in a few isolated locations. The Vallisneria plants were small (less than 10 cm tall).

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. If you missed the last three updates, you can view them on our web site for the 2001 work.

Bob (JJ)

(A final note: I just completed some sampling for juvenile spotted seatrout in all the beds along the lower western shore (VA only) from Back River to Dameron Marsh over the last two days. It was interesting to note the varying degrees of robustness that widgeongrass exhibited. We found widgeongrass at most locations but the widgeongrass from Gwynns Island to Dameron Marsh was very dense and still flowering. Many of the plants that came up in the trawl samples were loaded with seeds). We did not observe this at the other locations).

09/07/01 Charlie Conklin and Zane Carter, US EPA

Just completed surveys of two areas, Sept 7, 2001.

1. Churn and Still Pond Creeks (Quads 15 & 16)

Verified the existence of plants (Eurasian Watermil foil and wild celery) at previous sightings (churn creek) and found three more locations. Fairly good water clarity.

2. Comegys Bight, Comegys Creek and Fore Creek (Quad 26)

No sightings at any locations. Water clarity poor. Big contrast between the tributaries directly on the Bay and Chester River.

Charlie Conklin and Zane Carter

09/07/01 Mike Fritz, US EPA

I surveyed the SAV bed at Rose Haven on 9/7/01 by walking four transects roughly perpendicular to the shoreline in the shallows within 1 meter depth from the Herrington Harbor South breakwater northwest roughly 300 meters.

I found Ruppia maritima sparsely distributed in a narrow depth range at approximately 60 cm depth and confined to an area starting about 50 meters from the breakwater and extending about another 150 meters northwest parallel to the shoreline at that depth. I'd estimate the total area in which I found it at a little less than an acre.

I also observed numerous rays in the area disturbing the bed and sending Ruppia floating downwind.

Most of the plants were heavily coated with epiphytes.

08/15/01 Peter Bergstrom, US FWS

Mike Norman and I visited Shallow Creek (at the north side of the mouth of the Patapsco River, VIMS quad 19) two weeks ago (8/15) to check on the SAV planting we did there in June, 2000.

Overall Survival: What we found was encouraging; roughly half of what we planted in 2000 was doing well; about half of what remains is dense and to the surface at low tide, and half is more sparse.
Species: Redhead grass is more abundant that wild celery, and we found very little of the sago pondweed that we planted. We were also very glad to find a few squares surviving from what we planted in 1999, and they were mostly redhead grass. This is interesting because we have found natural wild celery and sago pondweed in the "outer cove" of the creek in the past and both are doing well this year, but not redhead grass.
Depth: We also found that contrary to what we expected, the deeper end of each of the planted rectangles had the densest growth. The Secchi depth was only 0.45 m so we had expected that grass in the shallow ends would grow much better. There was some evidence of grazing since some of the fencing had slipped down the poles.

08/13/01 Bob Orth, VIMS

SAV Aerial Update #3.

Eastern Bay, Choptank, Little Choptank, Patuxent, Rhode, West, Severn, and South rivers


Below are the notes for the remainder of the photography flown on Aug. 2 which covers the eastern shore from Kent Island to the Little Choptank River, the Patuxent River and parts of the South and Severn rivers. NOTABLE changes are the increases in Eastern Bay and the Choptank River from what was observed in 2000!


EASTERN BAY (flight lines 23-32)
What a difference a year makes! While we noted no SAV in the aerial photography in any section in 2000, many areas mapped in years previous to 2000 have made a resurgence (quads 32, 33, 36 and 37). Beds are sparse to dense, including those in the Miles and Wye rivers. The bed in the Miles River just up from Oak Creek is very dense but the offshore area has been "clipped," probably from clam dredging. Other areas in this region appear to be heavily "scarred."

It is interesting that the SAV "signature" is not as "rich and deep" as I have noted in previous years. I think that this may be due to a later than usual seasonal growth phase of the dominant species in this area, widgeongrass. It may still be in a vegetative phase with few flowering shoots, which are generally longer and grow to the surface, providing a richer signature. Whatever the case, there is SAV throughout Eastern Bay and the Miles and Wye rivers.

The coves at the north end of Kent Island are heavily vegetated. Very little SAV is noted for Marshy Creek.

Beds at the entrance to Eastern Bay between the large cove off Claiborne and Harbor Cove and the cove just south of Harbor Cove look fabulous (quad 32).

CHOPTANK RIVER (flight lines 18-26)
SAV beds appear to be significantly more abundant than in 2000. Beds are back in many of their previous locations noted before 2000, principally east side of Tilghman Island, Cooks Point Cove, Todds Point, Harris, Broad and Irish creeks (quads, 36, 37, 43, 44, 51, 52). Beds observed in the Tred Avon River are sparse including those around Oxford. SAV "signatures" are similar to what I noted for Eastern Bay.

SAV abundant in Hills Point Cove, Trippe Bay, and Brannock Bay. SAV is present in lower portions of Brooks, Hudson, Phillips, Backwith, and Fishing creeks, and Madison Bay (quads 51, 52, 62). SAV appears to be somewhat more abundant in areas of the Little Choptank than in 2000.

SAV beds have re-appeared just up from Rose Haven Harbor (quad 42), where they were last noted in 1997.

PATUXENT RIVER (flight lines 61-65)
The photography for the upper Patuxent is excellent and is some of the best I have seen. They show SAV beds in many of the same locations noted in the previous surveys (quads 41, 49, and 159). Some beds, although fringing, appear a little bigger. 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 beds 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.

It is really interesting that you can observe on the photographs plumes of clear water coming from these fringing beds. (See photograph) The tide was ebbing and you can actually see an area offshore of the beds where clearer water from the beds is mixing with the much more turbid channel water. While we continue to hear about how much water oysters filter which can have a positive influence for SAV growth, we shouldn't forget that SAV also has an important role as a water clarifier! I have seen this before in other areas but it is particularly impressive in this part of the Patuxent. When we start mapping the historical limits and abundance of SAV, it will be important to keep in mind that these large beds must have had a major factor in influencing water clarity!

In the lower Patuxent River there are small scattered patches of SAV at the mouth of the river from Solomans Island to Drum Pt. These have been persistent beds for many years at this location.

RHODE AND WEST RIVERS (flight lines 58 and 59)
No SAV was noted on the photographs. However, several small beds have re-appeared at the mouth of Parish Creek (quad 35). They were last noted in 1998.

SEVERN RIVER (flight line 58 only)
SAV reappeared along the south shore of Round Bay from Sherwood Forest into Little Rounds Bay, around St Helena Island, and Long Point to Kyle Pt (quad 23). The remainder of the river will be flown later.

SOUTH RIVER (flight lines 58 and 59)
SAV signatures are "weak" on the photographs but it appears that there is SAV in Glebe Bay, between Warehouse and Almhouse creeks, south of Mayo Pt., and in Selby Bay at the east side (quad 30). The rest of South Bay on flight line 57 was not flown on Aug. 2 (If anyone has been out to confirm this or at other locations, let me know.)

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 me or give me a call.

Please share this with any other interested individuals or groups.

Bob (JJ)

08/12/01 Tom Filip, US Army Corps of Engineers

Frog Mortar Creek, Middle River

I was in Frog Mortar Creek yesterday and was amazed at the water clarity, at least along the East side of the Creek from Gallowaty Pt up to about a line even with the runway .

I could see bottom in 6 to 7 feet of water consistently and was told by some locals that it has been that clear all summer and they don't know why. All along this same area between piers I found moderately dense beds of Elodea and Vallisneria; occassionally mixed but perdominately in monocultures. -Just thought I'd pass this along

08/09/01 Bob Orth, VIMS

SAV Aerial Update #2.

Lower Potomac River

Greetings! I hope you all are having a good summer so far, and while July was such a pleasure temperature wise, this heat wave we are enduring now was a wake up call that it is indeed summer here!

Below are the observations from the aerial photography taken of the lower Potomac River from the mouth to the Rt. 301 bridge. The flight was conducted on Aug. 2.



MARYLAND SIDE (flight lines 68 - 74)

Smith Creek (Quad 89) - patchy SAV at the mouth along both shores.

St. Mary's River (quads 80) - patchy SAV at the mouth along both shores., 89) - patchy SAV at the mouth along both shores.)- SAV doing quite well here again in many of the same locations noted in 2000, with some areas becoming more dense. But all-in-all very impressive!

St Georges Creek (quads 80, 89) - patchy SAV at the mouth along both shores.)- beds have gotten denser in the lower portion of the creek, but as in the St. Mary's quite impressive!

Mainstem lower Potomac from Piney Pt to the north end of St St Georges Isl (quad 89) - patchy SAV noted for the first time (confirmed by Ryan Davis' group to be widgeongrass in and around their transplant area!).

Herring Creek (quad 79) - new beds near the entrance to the creek.

St. Clement Bay - BIG change here - SAV was absent in 2000 (dense beds were present in earlier years) but dense SAV has returned in the lower portion (quads 69, 78).

Breton Bay - no SAV (quads 69, 78).

Wicomico River - SAV remains substantially reduced here. Some SAV beds are present but much further upriver. (quads 58, 67, 68).

Cobb Island. (quads 67, 68).- SAV absent, as well as around Neale Sound

Cuckhold and Picowaxen creeks (quad 67) - SAV absent or in reduced abundance, and certainly less than what we observed in the late 1990s.

The Power Plant area (quad 67) - SAV does appear here but the coverage is similar to what we noted in 2000.

VIRGINIA SIDE (flight lines 72, 76 - 80)

SAV continues 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 (quads 78, 87), Nomini Creek and Currioman Bay (quads 77, 78, 87), Rosier Creek (quad 66) and Goldman Creek (quad 67). The only creek that appears to have any significant SAV is the upper portions of Upper Machodoc Creek (quad 66). The bed along the shoreline by the 301 bridge remains but is still much reduced from the dense beds noted in the 1990s. On the positive side, there are some new SAV beds in the lower Yecomico River along the north shore from Lynch Pt to the NW branch (quad 88).

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 me or give me a call.

Please share this with any other interested individuals or groups.

Bob (JJ)

07/19/01 Jenn Aiosa & Marcy Damon, CBF

Goose Creek, Port Tobacco River

Marcy Damon and I kayaked in Goose Creek (POTOH; Map 57) in preparation for a citizen groundtruthing workshop. We kayaked across the creek from the Goose Creek Marina. On the opposite shore we found an incredible bed, out to at least 50 feet from the shoreline and around 0.75 meters at low tide; salinity was about 8 ppt. We found seven species. Zp and Ec were most dominant, with fair amounts of Rm and Ppc, as well as Ppf, Va and Ms mixed in. The Rm and Ec had seeds visible. It was a really windy morning and you could see the distinct difference in surface waves between the middle of the creek and the edge of the bed. We'll head back out to Goose Creek with citizens next weekend to check out more of the creek

07/15/01 and 07/16/01 Jill Bieri, CBF & the Chester River Association

Chester River and Eastern Neck Island

Thanks to the Chester River Association, we were able to groundtruth major areas of the Chester River and Eastern Neck Island on July 15-16. I have indicated results of all surveyed sections below. Beds that were found were sparse in most locations. Several other areas (Queenstown Creek, Robins Cove) will be groundtruthed later this month and I'll pass on that data as I receive it. The complete data set for this groundtruthing blitz includes GPS coordinates, secchi depth, water depth and presence or absence of SAV in all areas indicated. If anyone is interested in the complete data set (in an excel spreadsheet) let me know. I am also sending the complete data set to VIMS.

Jackson Creek to Kent Narrows (Map 33, Queenstown, MD): Zp, Rm, Ppc, Pp; sandy to rocky bottom in most areas with secchi depths 0.75 to 1 m in most locations

Queenstown Creek to Winchester Creek (Map 33, Queenstown, MD): Ppc isolated, sparse beds near mouth of Queenstown and thicker to more dense towards Winchester Creek

Eastern Neck (Map 26,-Langford Creek, MD): From bridge to Cedar Point- no SAV present; volunteer had been out to site several weeks prior and found sparse Zp Bayside- small, isolated patches of Rm

Frying Pan Cove and Church Creek (Map 26,-Langford Creek, MD): Frying Pan cove was too shallow to survey and small patches of Rm were found at Church Creek with secchi depths 0.5-0.6m

Langford Creek (Map 26,-Langford Creek, MD): Very sparse, Rm isolated patch; secchi depths in this area 1-1.5 m

Comegy's Creek (Map 26,-Langford Creek, MD): Small bed in northwest corner of Comegy's Creek, Zp (almost gone) and Rm

Piney's Neck Area (Map 26,-Langford Creek, MD): No grass present; secchi depths of 0.3-0.5 m

White's Cove and Mummy's Cove (Map 27, Centreville, MD): small patches of Zp

Rosin Creek (Map 22, Chestertown, MD): Several species found in this creek: Ms, Zp, Ec, Cd; secchi depths around 0.5 m in entire creek

07/14/01 Nancy Rybicki, USGS

Mattowoman and Piscataway creeks, Potomac River

I went to Mattowoman on Sat. by car (Map 48). The Hydrilla was thick and to the surface near the Smallwood Park boat ramp. I also Kayaked around Piscataway Creek(Map 40) and the Hydrilla is short but dense (cov4) and is in about the same location as last year. The Wilson Bridge bed is huge and to the surface (Map 34). I biked around Daingerfield Island downstream from the Airport, plants are dense, mostly Hydrilla by the marina and restaurant (Map 34).

07/09/01 Peter Bergstrom, (with Dan Murphy and Jason Miller), US FWS

Poplar Island and Harris creek (Maps 36, 43 and 180)

We surveyed 7 transects in Poplar Harbor, each 200-250 yards long, stopping every 50 yards to throw 2-3 rakes for 5 minutes per stop (See Map). We found two sprigs of short form Zp near North Poplar and Jefferson Islands (on western edge of Quad 36) and a patchy bed of short form Ppc with moderate epiphytes and no flowers or seeds, near Middle Poplar Island (eastern edge of Quad 180). We found a few shoots of Zp and one of short form Rm with some of the Ppc. We could not see any dark patches when standing on the boat with polarized sunglasses at low tide, so I doubt these will show in aerial photos unless the plants get longer and/or the water gets clearer. Secchi depths ranged from 0.65 m to 0.9 at different points in the harbor, salinity was 14 ppt with Hydrolab.

Note that these are some of the hardest species of SAV to tell apart, especially the short forms which lack branching and may lack flowers or seeds (all appear to have basal leaves). Luckily all the Zp had seeds, and most of the Ppc (sago) had bayonets. I had seen the short form of Rm before in Harris Creek and in the Severn, and I had seen the short form of Ppc on the Magothy including in Old Man Creek near where I live. Short form Rm has stouter rhizomes and stiffer leaves than short form Ppc or Zp, but otherwise short form Rm has no obvious diagnostic features.

Harris Creek outside of Tilghman Harbor (marked Dogwood Harbor on map), Quad 43 bed F2 in 2000 and P3 in 1999, had sparse short form Rm, with a bit of Zp in deeper water.

07/08/00 Harry Womack, Salisbury State University

Coastal Bays

SAV bed observations MD Coastal Bays - July 6, Southern Bays, July 8, Northern Bays

In an effort to sort of stay in touch with what's happening to the SAV beds which are seldom ground truthed in the Coastal Bays I went out 2 days and made observations. I did not study the east side of the Bays, feeling that the National Park Service, etc. is thoroughly studying them. I also did not do Sinnepuxent Bay due to engine problems.

First, water clarity was typical of the Bay at this time of year. Secchi readings varied between 40 cm. (Unprotected) to 1 meter (out of the wind and current). Primary problem = seds. Noted SAV in sites which could not be seen from the boat (ex. Secchi 60cm. SAV 1 meter). I don't know whether you can see them via aerial when I can't see them from the boat, but some may be missed this way.

In the lower Coastal Bays I went out of Girdletree, down through Parker Bay, around Mills Island, past Assacorkin, to Big Bay Marsh Island, then North to Marshall Creek (on the West side of Newport Bay). I then worked the shoreline down past Public Landing to Brockatanorton Bay, then around Tizzard Island and back to Girdletree again. I looked at all the sites where SAV existed on your 2000 maps (except Public Landing, which was 1999 (latest available). I also observed all sites which would seem likely (details if needed) to me, but not on your maps.

Relevant(?) observations follow:

Map 166

  • Site A1- Much as usual, (Zostera)
  • Site B2- Much as usual, (mixed Zostera and Ruppia). I had hoped to see spread or increased density in this area, but didn't.
  • Site C1- I found nothing- looked closely.

I also made extensive observation up in Grey's Creek where I had observed some likely sites upon which I was considering transplant work this Fall. I found nothing and the sites appear less promising

Map 167

  • Site R3- Zostera- Much more dense and extensive than previously observed.

Map 168

  • Made numerous observations around islands just North of Rt. 50 bridge, (found nothing)

Map 169

  • Found Zostera at previous transplant site. Small patchy, had not spread much. At the very north end of Public Landing. There is a deserted harbor there with an entrance and marker. The bed is just south of the harbor entrance along the shoreline. There is a point just to the south of the harbor entrance which sweeps in to typical shore line. The bed is close in to shore(50 ft. or so), along the J formed by the shore line.
  • I had previously pointed out a bed at the entrance to Scarboro Creek. It no longer exists due to HEAVY sediment load coming out of the Creek. (There is now a minor clam aquaculture bed there).
  • There is a nice Ruppia bed inside Turpin Cove.
  • Rather sparse (1) Zostera bed along the south edge of Windmill Cove embayment

No observations on 170 or 171

Map 172

All beds same except;

  • Nice Zostera bed inside Blue Pond, especially north side
  • Nice spreading Zostera bed in cove of Big Bay Marsh Island.
  • All of Parker Bay is filling in with Zostera. It is much more widespread than I have seen it previously (mostly in clumps about 2 meters in diameter) and covers all except a slightly deeper channel running north south slightly east of center, and an area just off the old oyster facilities on George's Island landing.

07/03/01 Peter Bergstrom, US FWS; Marcy Damon, CBF

Magothy River, Cornfield Creek and James Pond (Map 24)

We visited this area because we will be leading a CBF SAV Hunt training trip here on Wed. 7/25. The Cornfield Creek bed (Quad 24, bed F2 in 2000) that has had up to 7 species in the past (1997) had 5 species that we could find: Rm, Ppf, Ppc, Ec, Zp

We did not find the Va and Ms that has been found there in the past. The bed was much larger and denser than last year with much more Rm (widgeon) which was to the surface at low tide. The widgeon made it harder to see any other species. Rm and Ppf had flowers, Zp had seeds, Ppc (sago) and Ec (elodea) had neither. The Ec was odd in that it had whorls of leaves branching off of other whorls; I had not seen this before (See photo). The unvegetated area in the shallows seemed wider than in past years. Secchi depth was 0.6 m, salinity 10 ppt with refractometer.

James Pond had SAV on the right side and near the mouth, after having little or none last year. We found Rm, Ppc, and Ppf at the mouth, adding Ms, Zp and Ec inside the pond on the right side. We did not find any Va which was sparse there in the past. There were a pair of mute swans on the left side of the pond eating something, but we found little or no SAV on the left side. We will return in 3 weeks for the workshop and compare the extent of SAV.

NOTE: If you did not see it, John Page Williams wrote about Severn SAV recently:

07/02/01 Bob Orth, VIMS

SAV Aerial Update #1.

Lower Chesapeake Bay

Greetings! I hope you all are having a good summer. As in past years I will try to provide an update on the aerial photography when I obtain it from Air Photographics. This is my first update for 2001 and it encompasses observations from photographs taken from most of the lower bay.

Given the usual challenges of trying to match good atmospheric conditions (minimal wind, minimal cloud cover and haze, low sun angle to eliminate sun glare) with adequate water clarity and low tide, we still have been able to get the photography from the lower Bay up to and including the Honga River on the Eastern Shore and the lower western shore tributaries up to the lower Potomac River. Please remember none of the beds have been mapped or digitized and these are simply my first observations from the photos.

There have been a number of field observations posted to our web site ( that match up with what I am seeing on the photography. Note that we will soon have a map on the web site that shows location of each flight line and identifies the lines that have been flown so far this year (this would be identical to the one we had last year).


  • May 14: Lines 91, 91a, 92, 92a, 94, 95, 96, 96A, 97, 98, 102, 103, 105
  • June 10: Lines 86, 87a, 87d, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 138, 157
  • June 19 and 20: Lines 1, 1A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 84, 85, 87b, 87c, 88, 89, 90, 91, 93, 145, 146, 147
  • June 27: Lines 104, 139, 140, 141, 166
  • June 28: Lines 106, 107, 108


(flight lines 102, 103; quad 152) - SAV (both eelgrass and widgeon grass) is present in a narrow fringe in generally the same areas as previous years.

(flight lines 102, 103; quad 152) - no SAV except in the VIMS and CBF transplant site inshore of the oyster reef planted by VMRC. The plants (eelgrass) were very robust in each of the small plots that were planted in 1998, 1999, and 2000. Sites where VIMS broadcast seeds in 10x10 m plots in 2000 are also doing well.

(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 widgeon grass) continues to do well in the same area as the VIMS and ACB transplant sites.

(flight line 101; quads 147, 149) - SAV (all eelgrass) is 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 (the site of VIMS 1997 and 1998 transplant plots and 2000 seed plots), and the small bed adjacent to the shipyard just upriver from the tunnel.

(flight lines 91 to 98; quads 122, 123, 131, 132, 139, 140, 141, 147) - SAV (both eelgrass and widgeon grass) still appears abundant in many of the same areas that represent a significant portion of the SAV in the lower western shore. However, offshore portions of the beds at Ware Neck Point, 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 again this year. SAV in the upriver portions of the Ware and North rivers (Mobjack Bay), which reached a low point in 1999, and were returning in 2000, appears to be even more abundant in 2001. The ACB and CBF transplants off Langley Airforce Base are visible on the photos.

(flight lines 89, 90, 91; quads 118, 123) - SAV in the Piankatank continues to persist in the following areas: patchy to dense beds on and just behind extensive shoal area at north end of Gwynns Island and is patchy along the shoal area up to the Islander Motel at the southern entrance to Milford Haven; dense beds at the south end of Gwynns 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; small, patchy to dense beds on west side of Gwynns Island in Milford Haven.

(flight lines 87a,b,c,d, 88, 145, 146, 147; quads 110, 111, 116, 117, 118) - SAV remains abundant in the same areas we have observed in the past few years, primarily along the north shore from Windmill Point up to the Corrotoman River, as well as just up above Towles Point, with the densest concentrations noted from the Rt. 3 bridge into the Corrotoman. The bed (mostly eelgrass) at Windmill Point remains small and very sparse. There are some small, scattered beds in and around Mosquito Creek just north of Windmill Point. The beds just north of the bridge include both VIMS and CBF transplants of eelgrass (both adult and seed plots) in and around the natural widgeon grass. Field assessments this spring indicate they are doing quite well. The VIMS 1996 plots of eelgrass are still present at this site, one of the few sites planted in 1996 to survive this long. The remaining beds north are moderately dense to dense and generally similar to what we noted in 2000.

(flight lines 83, 84, 85, 86, 138; quads 106, 112) - SAV (both eelgrass and widgeon grass) present in same areas as in the past surveys: Fleets Bay, and Dymer, Indian, and Dividing creeks, Dameron Marsh, and Fleeton Point. SAV beds look good with the densest beds at Dameron Marsh.


(flight lines 139, 140, 141, 166; quads 143, 184, 186) - SAV (eelgrass) persisting in a small area inside Fisherman's Island where it has been mapped in previous years. Small patches (all eelgrass) in Magothy Bay which are from VIMS transplants, with several small plots persisting since 1996 and 1997. 2000 seed plots (100 m2) doing very well. Small to large patches of either adult plants or from seed broadcasts doing quite well just behind Wreck Island. Two large areas of plants from a 1999 seed broadcast are doing very well at the Wreck Island.

CAPE CHARLES up to and including BIG MARSH and CHESCONESSEX CREEK (flight lines 104-108) (quads 108, 113, 114, 119, 124, 133, 134, 142) - abundant and dense SAV at all creek mouths, along the southern portion of Big Marsh, and very dense adjacent to Parker and Finney Islands. This is similar to past years. SAV penetrating into many of the creeks along both shorelines.

POCOMOKE SOUND (flight lines 107,108, 109, 110) (quads 100, 101, 108, 109) Beds SAV (eelgrass and widgeongrass) along the north side (MD portion), especially around Broad Creek and into Broad Creek going to Crisfield, appear as dense or denser than in 2000. 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 2000.

(flight line 111; quad 107)- Patchy SAV (eelgrass and widgeongrass) still present on the east side of island. GREAT FOX ISLAND
(flight lines 109, 110, 111; quad 100) - SAV (eelgrass and widgeongrass) very dense along the east side of the Fox Islands. Beds still absent in the offshore deeper areas. SAV still present just north of these islands along the western side of Cedar Island.

(flight lines 112, 113; quads 91, 92, 99, 100, 107) - SAV (eelgrass and widgeongrass) is abundant in many of the same locations as in 2000. Beds around Tangier are very dense especially the large shoal areas between Tangier and Smith. The large shallow water area near Ewell (the Big Thoroughfare) and many of the cut-throughs to the island continue to have vegetation again this year.

(flight lines 5, 6, 137; quads 83, 91) - Patchy beds along the east side of the island. No SAV noted at Spring Island.

(flight lines 5, 6, 137; quad 91) - Beds persisting in Sheepshead Harbor, Pry Cove, Pungers Cove, Johnson Cove, Muscle Hole. Beds are still dense, although those in Sheepshead appear less dense.

(flight lines 5, 6, 137; quad 83) - SAV beds between Adam and Northeast Island and into Northeast Cove at south end of Bloodsworth, as well as in Okahanikan Cove. The SAV "signature" on the photos for these areas differs somewhat from what we have seen in past years. This difference may be an indication that the species in that area, widgeon grass, has not yet hit peak flowering. Flowering shoots are much longer and can significantly enhance the "signature" by providing a richer contrast between the vegetated and unvegetated areas.

(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.

(flight lines 1, 1A; quad 93) - SAV present primarily in dense to patchy beds at or near the mouth, and in the same areas as reported in the past.

(flight lines 2, 3; quad 84) - SAV beds in many of the same locations noted in 2000. Beds in Laws Thoroughfare appear to be substantially reduced but are still present in the south end of Deal Island and Teague, Goose and Mine creeks.

(flight lines 7 - 11) - No SAV noted, including inside Tedious Creek where, in the past, we have noted some SAV behind the breakwater on the north side of creek.

(flight lines 12-15; quads 72, 73, 74, 82, 83) - The SAV picture here is complicated by the "weak" signatures on the photography, which may be due to the poor growth of widgeon grass, which dominates the area. I can just make out the SAV in many areas but the usual crisp "signature" is lacking. I can see that the SAV in the small coves of CBF's Noonan Center at Bishop Head is doing quite well. SAV in the cove just outside this facility, however, is very patchy and much less than what was present last year. This pattern is typical throughout the area. My goal is to get up to this area in the next few weeks, check the SAV beds throughout the region, and then refly them later this summer if I find that the widgeon grass has grown significantly.

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 me or give me a call.

Please share this with any other interested individuals or groups.

Bob (JJ)

06/26/01 Kent Mountford

Honga River(Quads 073 & 074)

I sailed acoss to the Honga River yesterday and today. Lots of loose Ruppia. No swans seen in the Honga but a flock was off Hooperville west of the Islands. Heavy SAV cover inshore Duck Point Cove, in the creeks feeding it (90% cover) and even the ditches draining the roads have a stripe of Ruppia down the channel. Packed with litle fish and many crabs.

Secchi yesterday and today was uniformly 1 M, except in the SAV covered shallows which appeared clearer, but where a disk couldn't be lowered. Water in the Honga over the 5-7 nautical miles I covered seemed normal to my eye.

06/21/01 Mike Naylor, Maryland DNR

Sassafras River (Quads 009, 010, 016, and 017)

You would not believe the SAV in the Sassafras! Vallisneria americana, Potamogeton pusillus, Potamogeton pectinatus, Myriophyllum spicatum, Ceratophyllum demersum, Potamogeton crispus, Elodea canadensis, Hydrilla verticillata Chara, Utricularia sp., and Z. palustrisare EVERYWHERE. Lloyds Creek is now a solid, dense SAV bed, with very clear water. Loads of Vallisneria in thick beds, huge dense mats of Elodea, and Myriophyllum scattered everywhere. Two years ago there were just a few scattered plants and it was very turbid- people would go there to water-ski. Now, you can't even get a motorboat into the creek it's so thick.

Nine mute swans were observed feeding in the SAV in Lloyds Creek. Not a single one was observed there last year while harvesting water chestnut. It didn't take them long to find these new beds.

Money Creek, Cox Creek, Foreman Creek, Island Creek, Freeman Creek, and Turner Creek all have mixed Vallisneria, Elodea, Hydrilla, and Myriophyllum beds with other species mixed in. Way, way more SAV than in 1999 or 2000!

06/13/01 Kent Mountford

SAV observations in St Leonard Creek, Patuxent River, Maryland (Quad 061)

The Zannichellia germination occurred deep in winter and plants were doing well with significant cover. Mute swans moved in (and set up housekeeping in) Osborn Cove and their incessant feeding removed virtually all SAV down to mute swan neck depth. With mask and snorkle one could dive deeper than the swans had access and there was significant growth and cover.

Under my dock and beneath my moored rowing dinghy there was still Zann. which could not be "safely" reached by the swans. Volunteers addled all the 8 eggs in the adjacent nest. Swan counts in this cove feeding were up to 6 birds.

Other areas of the creek (outside the grazing zone of the resident (about) 16- swans had very dense growth, much of which is now drifting in mats about the creek and coves, "setting" seed for next year.

Last September, at Barren Island (Tar Bay) I collected and weighed a kilogram of cut Ruppia, photographing it later to depict the amounts consumed by mute swans in daily feeding (1 kg looks like this, the swans eat 3-4 kg daily).

Having previously discussed this with Orth, I thought to try re-introducing Ruppia to this site, where it grew in the ealy 1960's but had disappeared completely more than 27 years ago.

I placed (simply tossed) this 1 kg of material in adjacent Quicksand Pond, an open tidepond joining Osborn Cove. The material lay amongst the shoreline Spartina and decomposed over winter.

In the last few weeks, it has sprouted about 100 seedlings in 4 square meters, I think subject to the crowding problems Orth mentions in his broadcast seed experiments. Unless I hear negative feedback from the workgroup, I will proceed with a broader spreading and reintroduction of this plant to Quicksand Pond this season. Kent Mountford, PhD Estuarine Ecologist and Environmental Historian

06/10/01 Pierre Henkart

Severn River (Quad 030)

I got out on the Severn this gorgeous weekend both in my rowing shell and kayak, and was pleased to find SAV species in addition to the Zp I found earlier. Most interesting was the appearance of substantial amounts of sago in three shallow areas of Saltworks Cr: at the head and in the two last coves [with some flowers]. It was growing in shallower locations than the heavy Zp growth, areas which would appear to dry out during northerlies. I never noticed sago here before, but given its amount and distribution I may well have missed it.

Not only did I never see sago in here before but the second cove is the very one whose sediment cores were sampled by Court Stevenson's group, finding only Zp and Rm seeds [Arnold et al J. Coastal Res. 16:188 (2000)].

Other species: Redhead looks great near the mouth of Asquith Creek, lots of blooms. Milfoil is present in Rays Pond and a bit in Saltworks. Widgeon grass seems to be still mostly in the low form which I could rake up in some, but not all areas of previous beds. It will be interesting to follow this over the summer.

06/09/01 Melvin Bender

Horned pondweed in Forked Creek (Quad 024)

Horned Pond Weed found in Forked Creek of the Magothy River, south of B3 on 2000 Gibson Island (024) quad.

06/04/01 Donna and Bill Cox

Horned pondweed in Cox Creek (Quad 032)

Cox Creek on Kent Island, MD is full of horned pondweed. We have noticed it alongside of our dock for about a month now. We checked out the south/western side of the creek from route 50 down to Cox Point on May 29th and it is from the shore out to where the water is about 4 feet deep. Looks similar to the 1995 survey only it seems to go further towards the channel. The north/eastern side has just as much horned pondweed. I also noticed that the creek is very clear right now which allows us to see down a few feet. I will be looking further down the creek (from Cox Point south) in a few days and will write back with my findings.

05/23/01, 05/28/01, & 06/02/01 Mary Hollinger

Black Swamp Creek & Wayson's Corner, Patuxent River, MD (Quad 159)

Paddled up Black Swamp Creek, on the Patuxent River across from King's Landing, on May 23rd and May 28th. The predominant species was curly pondweed, and there was plenty. Mixed in those beds were coontail, slender pondweed, and Elodea. Nearer the headwaters, before the beaver dam, there is a huge, thick bed of stargrass that can be difficult to paddle thru on a low tide. These same species were also noted in Waysons Corner on June 2nd. We paddled from the launch area to as far as we could go up the marsh. Again the primary species was curly pondweed.

06/01/01 Mike Naylor, Maryland DNR

College Creek, Severn River (Quad 031)

College Creek, Severn River, MD had several large Potamogeton pectinatus (sago pondweed) beds visible 6/1/01. Beds are fringing the shorelines both north and south of the Rowe Blvd. bridge. The plants are already to the surface and look very robust. Many intact plants up to a meter long were seen floating around, uprooted- perhaps due to the spawning activities of the huge carp that are throughout the creek thrashing around in the shallows.

05/10/01 Lynton Land

Little Wicomico (Quad 098)

I just got back checking the Little Wicomico from Flood Point to the headwaters. The headwaters and Sawmill cove are absolutely CHOKED with solid massive stands of Horned Pondweed. It's difficult to get the boat through it if you get too shallow. I didn't find any other species. There was a guy working on his pier who said he had lived there for many years, and he said it was always this way from about the end of April through most of May. He said he hadn't noticed any changes with time.

The other arms (Spring cove, Willis Creek, Spences Creek - where I live) have small amounts of Horned Pondweed as evidenced by fronds floating in the water. I stuck a small rake to the bottom and almost always picked up a few fronds. But I never saw the kinds of massive stands that nearly reach the surface at low tide that are further up the creek..

Lynton Land

05/08/01 Lynton Land

Little Wicomico (Quad 098)

Yesterday we flew over the Little Wicomico and although it was not low tide, I saw lots of grass in Sawmill Cove. A neighbor told me that this happens every year. I'll try and go up there tomorrow morning in the skiff and check it out. I started seeing horned pondweed in my oyster floats a couple of weeks ago, but I haven't seen the stands visually at low tide as I did last year. It may be too early as the water is just warming up, or maybe something has changed.

Lynton Land

05/01/01 Drew Koslow, Md. DNR

Horned Pond Weed in Duvall Creek, South River (Quad 031)


I was out canoeing with Bill Rodney, a PhD student at UMD MEES program. We were in the northwest fork of Duvall Creek, in the headwaters. Duvall is a tributary to the South River. We found about a half-acre of Horned Pond Weed (Zp). The bed was very dense, there were some epiphytes, but plants were still healthy and as in most areas with SAV in South River, plants were very shallow, <2feet.

Drew Koslow, MD DNR

04/10/01 Bob Orth, VIMS

VIMS field report #1.

James & York Rivers

Greetings! We just finished our first full week (April 1-7) of field work here in the lower Bay assessing the results of our eelgrass seed experiments that I discussed at the February work group meeting in La Plata. While the weather conditions this spring have been cooler than normal and despite water temperatures that were still below 10°C, we got quite a bit done. Kudos to my staff!

In the past few years I have provided you updates with the aerial program. What I'd like to do over the next few weeks is give you some general impressions on what we are finding from our field work, in addition to observations from previous year's transplants. I also include observations of natural populations in and around the transplant sites or other locations worth noting that we visit.

You may recall that we conducted large scale transplants between 1996 and 1997 in the York and James rivers, including numerous small plantings at sites throughout the lower bay in 1996, and began a series of seed experiments in 1999 that were continued in 2000. This project has been funded by Virginia's Recreational Fishing License Fund and some state funds.

The 1999 seed experiments addressed the issues of seedling density as a function of initial seed density. Seeds were broadcast onto 4 square meter plots at 10 sites around the bay and coastal bays. The 2000 project repeats this experiment, but also addresses the role that eelgrass seeds may play in maintaining existing beds; the ability to use seeds to plant larger areas than the small plots we have been using to date, optimal times for actually broadcasting seeds, and the role that some benthic dwelling animals may play in bed development

The seed density experiment has five 4 m2 treatments (with three replicates) broadcast with 0 (control) 10, 100, 1000, 5000 seeds at 4 sites (James, York, Rappahannock rivers, South Bay)

The project studying the importance of seeds in bed maintenance has 5 treatments (adult plants, adult plants with reproductive shoots removed in spring, adult plants with an added 5000 seeds, 5000 seeds alone, and a control with no plants or seeds, at three sites (York and James rivers and South Bay)

The role of seeds in establishing larger areas is being addressed with 100 square meter plots. We have established these large plots in South Bay, Cobb Island Bay, Magothy Bay, Lynnhaven River, James River, and the Rappahannock River, with seed densities ranging from 50,000 to 200,000 per area. Sites at Lynnhaven and Rappahannock river are being coordinated with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

The question of faunal influence using the tube building polychaete, Diopatra cuprea, is being conducted at two sites in the York River.

The influence of season on success of seed broadcasting is being studied at two sites (York River and South Bay).

Here are some of our initial observations from last week:

We completed the assessment of the seed density experiments in the York and James rivers and generally found more seedlings in the high density plots, although the percentage of seedlings based on initial broadcast seed density have not exceeded 10% in any of the treatments. Seedlings are easily observable now and can be distinguished from one year old plants which become reproductive the second year and are identified by the presence of flowering shoots this time of year. However, counting them underwater when water temps are 10C does create a challenge since this is all done by diving and you have to just lay on the bottom and count!.

We assessed seedling success in one large plot in the James in which we broadcast 50,000 seeds. We measured seed density in 1,120 0.25 square meter plots, 400 within the 10 x10m plot, the remainder outside the plot. We found numerous seedlings, with seedling abundance approx. 14 % of initial seed density, and with 92% of those growing in the 10x10m area where the seeds were broadcast! This is a typical pattern we have found that has been very consistent across years and plot sizes. Most seeds remain where they are broadcast! We made another interesting observation of plots where broadcast seed density was high. Many small patches (around 10x10 cm) had numerous seedlings that had only one shoot per seedling, compared to 3 or 4 shoots per seedling when not clumped. Evidently, after the seeds sink to the bottom, the hydrodynamics of the system appear to concentrate seeds in depressions or around animal tubes. When they all germinate, they appear to be competing for resources and thus produce fewer shoots per seedling (an analogous situation occurs for gardeners when you broadcast lettuce, spinach, or radish seeds in your garden. The more seeds in one spot the less robust your plants are going to be - so start thinning like the package says!)

We did a quick visual of our transplant plot at the Monitor-Merrimac Bridge Tunnel site in the James River (site of large scale transplanting in 1997 and 1998, Quad 149). WOW!!!! Not only are the plots doing well (some erosion on the outer edges) but there are numerous seedlings between experimental plots as well as inshore and offshore of the plots. It was quite impressive and this growth was noted only around the transplant area. Hopefully, the low level photography we plan for the spring will really show this expansion!

We noted large numbers of natural patches along the shoreline of the lower James just inshore of our experimental seed density site and about one km downriver of the 1997/98 transplant site. These patches are several years old as noted by numerous flowering shoots.


JJ and the VIMS SAV team

03/25/01 Drew Koslow, Md. DNR

Redhead in Harness Creek, South River (Quad 030)

On March 25, 2001 saw about 1,000 Redhead plants just coming up through a sandy bottom in an area that was planted with Redhead during the summer of 2000. The planting was done by South River Federation and we planted very shallow, 24 inches and shallower, with some plants in the intertidal zone. The area is immediately adjacent to John Flood's pier where seed oysters ("oysterlings") are stored for an extensive gardening project. It is thought that these plants did well because of micro-habitat created by the oysters. Plants died back initially last summer, then spread out to form a natural looking bed with thin coverage. Evidently tubers survived the winter and just began sprouting. I actually looked for them Thursday, March 22 with Jill Bieri, and no plants were visible.

John Flood is fencing the area today to prevent grazing as both resident mallards and Mute Swans are plentiful.

Drew Koslow & John Flood