Conditions: Breezy, warmer
Water Temp: between 59.3 and 62.1 degrees
See map of waypoints overlayed on 2006 images
We launched at Janes Island State Park and headed toward Crisfield. We surveyed the Jane’s Island side from the new condo complex down toward Long Point. The first area (667-668) was in the area of the pilings, but not in the cove. It was actually outside the cove in deeper water near the channel, off of the banktrap there. This area was patchy at best. 668 was a little bit further along than 667 and there were shorter shoots. In summary for this small bed area, the grass itself was longer, with short shoots, and the bed was patchy. There were three shoots per a 9 m transect. The temperature here was 59.3 degrees
We moved down the island and the rest of this area will be described according to the waypoints that were recorded for that area. In the area of 670 there was thicker coverage of grass with longer shoots. There were 6 shoots per a 10 m transect. It was noted that 2 of the shoots were seen in shallow and the last 4 out in the deeper part of the transect. In shallow, past 671 it was 100 % Rm, and to the south of this in the cove there was nothing. The Zm picked up again around 672 where it was 50% Rm and 50% Zm. Off past the point near 672 there was grass but we were unable to find any shoots.
673 – Med. Length grass but few shoots
674 – Grass present with longer shoots. A transect resulted in 4 shoots per 10 m.
676 – Sparse but present with few shoots found
677 – Grass present
In the vicinity of Great Point:
Note: Did not investigate Fishing Creek or Broad Creek
It was noted here by the resident digger and view tuber handler that the bottom was composed of coarse sand, and was very different from the other areas we surveyed. The grass was patchy around 678. There was more grass in the vicinity of 679 but the blades of grass were shorter. It was noted that we should do more recon here. It was also noted that at low tide the area is 75% SHALLOW!
In the vicinity of Hammock Point (out of Crisfield and immediately to the left behind you, the shoreline of those newer houses):
This area is thought to be harvestable using the mechanical harvester.
680 – Grass is growing to the surface, shoots to the surface. The area is interesting because the grass is growing right up until the shore. It is deep right up to the shore. The shoots were about 18 inches and seeds were the furthest along of any seen this day. A transect found 18 shoots per 13 meters.
682 – the shoots to surface still
688 – getting sparser
The grass goes all the way up until the end but gets shallow. It was low tide at the time of the survey.
We then moved through Daugherty Canal to investigate the vicinity of Jackson Island and Joe’s Cove.
From Joe’s Cove to Long Point
692 had 50% Rm and 50% Zm Short to medium shoots that were sparse and patchy.
A transect revealed 2 shoots per 10 m.
The transecter said that there are a lot of shoots, but they are very short- about 4-6 inches.
693 is the same, but longer shoots were seen moving toward the bank trap.
694 the eelgrass was longer and about 80% Zm and 20% Rm Shoots were medium length
695 Seeds less developed
696 All Rm
We then moved back toward Jackson Island:
697 – Medium length plants and what could potentially be harvestable shoots ~ 12-15 inches. Not to the surface like the other area. Deeper water. There were 4 shoots per 10 m according to transect. In this area it was noted that due to the short amount of time, this area should be revisited to define the boundaries of the bed. It was 62.1 degrees and the seeds were less developed than the “honey spot”.
05/04/07 Lee Karrh, MD-DNR
Aerial survey of Lower Easter Shore, Coastal Bays
Mark Lewandowski and I did an aerial SAV survey of the Lower Eastern Shore (photographs). NRP provided the pilot and leased an aircraft on our behalf,
so I would like to acknowledge their assistance.
In general, the aerial extent of SAV beds in the Manokin, Big A, Little A
look better than last year, not as good as 2005. Pocomoke Sound and the
water to the east of Smith Island were ok, not great, not dismal.
We also flew the Coastal Bays. Southern Chincoteague is still very
seagrass challenged. I saw no SAV in Johnson Bay, one nice bed on the
east side of Mills Island, and just very patchy beds on the western side
of Assateague as we worked our way north. There were some pretty decent
looking beds near Tingles Island and along the eastern side of Sinepuxent
Bay. In Isle of Wight Bay, the bed along the south shore of Isle of Wight
itself looks very good.
Katie Preen, Becky Golden and I ground-truthed the greater Crisfield metropolitan area. The winds were easily over 20kts, so
we weren't able to cover a lot of territory. The density of reproductive
shoots in several areas is greater than 2006, though the shoots themselves
seem shorter than 2005. There was a large amount of variability in the
maturity of the spathes, with some spathes still flowering, other with
well developed seeds and some that appear to have already released their
Our estimated harvest start date of 05/21/07 seems reasonable, and we will
go back to Crisfield early next week to make a final determination.
Percent cover at Tizzard island is down
to about 1% with about 50% of the plants flowering. All Ruppia is gone
from the shallow area and all eelgrass is concentrated at mid depth.
Patches are about the size of my hand (fingers spread out)!
The situation at Mills island (bed Caroline studied - exposed to the bay -
east exposure) was quite similar: about 1% cover with about half the
plants flowering. One patch was 1 m wide but most seemed to be individual
plants or small clumps.
I saw one nicely defined, if somewhat small (couple of hectares at the most) bed on the east side of Mills, towards the north point. On the Assateague side, there was definitely grass there, but it seemed to be clustered in the shallowest parts of the shoal. I couldn't see Coard's Marsh on our flight line, I was trying to keep our flight time below 2 hours total for Tangier area and Chincoteague, so we only concentrated on the big areas in MD.
The closer toward Sinepuxent, the better the grass looked. Tingles Island looked ok. Sinepuxent was so-so, by Sinepuxent standards.
I just got back from surveying the eelgrass plots at Piney Point. In the
fall, 12.5% of the marked plots (39 plots) that we were following still
had Zm. Today, 28% had plants. Zm plots varied from a few shoots (see
slide 1) to dense plots of several square feet in size (see slides 3,
4). Many of the plots had flowering shoots (see slide 4), some with visible
seeds that were near full size. I dug up a number of clumps of
shoots. Some were continuous with old rhizomes (see slides 5, 6, 7), while others
were clearly from seeds as the rhizome was continuous with upright shoots,
with no broken ends (see slide 8). It s fairly clear to me that there are
both new seedlings and plants that over wintered. Many of the plants had
small barnacles but were otherwise fairly clean.
We also looked at the DNR plots at St. Georges Island (see slides 9, 10). The
Zm there was mixed with Ruppia and some Zanchellia, and was less dense
than at Piney Point. However, the shoots looked healthy and relatively
clean of epiphytes.
05/24/07 Nancy Rybicki, USGS
Wicomico River and Potomac rivers (Quads 58, 67, 68, 69, 78, 162)
Chris Tanner, 3 of his staff, Paul Roche, and I sampled about 10 transects starting at the head of Wicomico and observing down the west
side of Wicomico River and up the Potomac for 3 kilometers. We found
modest amount of chara (not confirmed, may be nitella) and P. pusillus
upstream, about 1 km above the power line. Otherwise we found no SAV in
Wicomico or just upstream of Cobb Island on the Potomac. However, one
person on the boat thought they spotted a floating myriophyllum plant in the Potomac
above Cobb Island.
We also went to St. Clements Bay to peak at the Zannichellia and Ruppia up and
downstream of Long Point. Above the point was a dense bed with 12 swans
eating it. It was sparse in the bed below Long Point.
Chris has observed the St Mary's and said its a little bit better this
spring than it was this time last year, possible because of cool temperatures.
I don't expect the Wicomico to provide many acres of SAV this
year. Chris' staff does the DataFlow and exclaimed at how turbid the
Wicomico was in 2006 (no SAV) and this April, too. They don't have data
flow from 2005 (good SAV) to compare, but they did mention that it's turbid
compared to the main river.
05/29/07 Bob Orth, VIMS
Aerial update of the lower bay
The 2007 annual survey has begun with our first successful flights
conducted just last week on May 23 and 24. We have received that imagery
and I have provided a summary below of what we have noted so far for the
lower bay. This year's survey of the lower bay SAV beds is again important
because it continues to provide the documentation needed to assess the
recovery dynamics of the 2005 eelgrass defoliation event. I am hoping we
can get some of the images on-line soon so you can see some of what I
Listed below are the locations in the lower Bay where we have acquired
photography so far for 2007. For those sections, I have listed the flight
lines that cover the areas and the dates they were flown. Please see our
website for a map of the lines that have been flown
(http://www.vims.edu/bio/sav/sav07/flightlineindex.html). Please note that
none of the beds reported here in this first 2007 update have been
mapped. These are simply my first observations from the photographs;
however, I have tried to give some reasonable estimate of how beds look in
2007 compared to both 2006, which was one year after the dieback, as well
as in 2005 just prior to the dieback. Where appropriate, I have added
information from an extensive quantitative ground survey of dieback sites
we conducted this past spring, a repeat of what we did in 2006, as well as
any other ground survey information that is shared with us by other teams
of researchers. Again, all 2007 aerial and ground observations submitted
to us by other researchers or citizens are placed on our web site
BROAD BAY (CB Segment LYNPH)
(Flight lines 102, 103 flown on May 24) (Quad 152) Several small patches of SAV are noted in this area along a narrow fringe
of the southern shore at the entrance. SAV has been present in the past in
this area. No SAV was mapped in 2006, although several field reports noted
some eelgrass seedlings in these areas in 2006. Other beds dominated by
widgeongrass noted in previous years along the north shore and along shoals
at the east end are absent.
LYNNHAVEN RIVER (CB Segment LYNPH)
(Flight lines 102, 103 flown on May 24) (Quad 152) No SAV was noted and none has been recently reported.
LITTLE CREEK (CB Segment LYNPH)
(Flight line 102 flown on May 24) (Quad 151)
SAV is present just inside the mouth adjacent to the amphibious base and is
similar in area to what has been noted in previous years. Both eelgrass
and widgeon grass have been present in past ground surveys. Eelgrass was
planted here in the late 1990s and has survived to date.
JAMES RIVER - LOWER MAINSTEM (CB Segments JMSPH)
(Flight line 101 flown May 23; Quads 147 and 149) SAV beds are present just down from the Monitor-Merrimac Bridge Tunnel near
Peterson's Yacht Basin (site of an earlier transplant project in 1997 and
1998), and at the mouth of Hampton Creek (also sites of transplant efforts
in 1996). These beds were present in 2006 but they are denser in
2007. These beds consist predominantly of eelgrass.
BACK RIVER (CB Segment MOBPH)
(Flight line 98 flown on May 23) (Quad 147). SAV is dense and abundant in Back River (see 98-5). The large bed behind Factory Pt.
(which has really changed in the last few years esp. after Isabel) is
especially dense. It appears most beds are denser in 2007 compared to
2006, although they are not as abundant as what was present in 2005. SAV
in this area appeared to have better survival from the 2005 dieback and
recovery was fueled by both surviving adults as well as seedlings.
DRUM ISLAND FLATS, POQUOSON FLATS AREA, including the POQUOSON RIVER (CB
(Flight lines 96, 96a, and 97, flown on May 23) (Quads 140, 141, and 147). There is a substantial amount of SAV on Drum Island Flats except it is
still much less than what we saw in 2005 and in earlier years. Extensive
field observations this spring have shown continued eelgrass recovery on
Drum Island Flats. The beds are denser than in 2006 but it is much less
from earlier years (see 96-4). The large, offshore shoal area on Poquoson Flats,
which had a very large area of eelgrass just a few years ago and which
recently declined even prior to the 2005 dieback, remains
unvegetated. There is very little SAV in the Poquoson River as well as on
the large shoal areas fronting the bay in this region up to Goodwin Island,
again a different story from what was here just 10 years ago. SAV in 2007
does not look much different than what we observed in 2006
LOWER YORK RIVER including GOODWIN ISLANDS (CB Segment MOBPH, YRKPH)
(Flight lines 93, 95, 96, 96a, 97 flown on May 23 and 24) (Quads 130, 131,
132, 139, 140) 2007 SAV in the York River remains at levels similar to 2006. Almost all
of the SAV is eelgrass except near the mouth where widgeongrass is also
present. Some of the beds mapped in 2006 have gotten denser but the
abundance is certainly much less than what we noted in 2005. SAV around
Goodwin Island, a NERRS site, is really sparse except for a couple of
inshore shallow areas that remain dense (see 96a-8). Some areas in the York, notably
those closer to Gloucester Point have not recovered from the 2005
dieback. One of the more notable declines over the last few years is the
loss of eelgrass around the Guinea Marshes at the mouth of the York River
along the north shore. Today's 2007 SAV distribution around the Guinea
Marsh is even less than what we recorded soon after Agnes (see 95-5). This is a real
bummer for a site that had really recovered by the mid-1990's and was, in
my opinion, one of the more robust areas of eelgrass!
MOBJACK BAY and the area above NEW POINT COMFORT LIGHTHOUSE up to HORN
HARBOR (CB Segment MOBPH, CB8PH)
(Flight lines 91, 91a, 92, 92a, 93, 94; flown on May 23 and 24) (Quads 122,
123, 131, 132) SAV is present in areas mapped in 2006 and many areas have become denser,
similar to what we have noted elsewhere in this general area. However,
abundance and density in 2007 remain much lower than noted not only in 2005
but even lower than what was noted around 2000, a period when SAV beds were
quite robust throughout the Mobjack. Recovery from the 2005 dieback noted
in 2006 in many areas due to mainly seedlings and some adult plants,
continues based on our quantitative surveys of quite a few locations in
Mobjack Bay. The Mobjack Bay has been a 'stronghold' for SAV (e.g. around New Point lighthouse (see 92-2) as well as off Horn Harbor (see 91-2)), and while
the 2007 levels are encouraging, the overall picture, especially for
eelgrass, remains discouraging given what we were observing through the
1990s. Many previously dense areas now have almost no SAV, due to a
combination of Isabel in 2003, the dieback in 2005, and other stressors.
CAPE CHARLES area up to and including CRADDOCK CREEK (CB Segment CB7PH)
(Flight lines 104-105; flown May 23) (Quads 108, 113, 114, 119, 124, 133,
Old Plantation Creek to Cape Charles - SAV remains patchy in this very
dynamic part of the lower bay eastern shoreline. However, these patchy
beds have become denser since 2006, but remain below levels what was noted
Cherrystone Creek (Cape Charles area) - the only SAV beds to note are
adjacent to the Campground at the mouth of Cherrystone Creek. The bed has
become denser in 2007 compared to 2006 but remains below the 2005
levels. Many of the beds noted upriver of this large bed are no longer
present. Small, very patchy beds are observable along the exposed
shoreline going north to Hungars Creek but behind the large sand bar.
Hungars/Mattawoman Creek area - the shoal area behind a large offshore sand
bar at the mouth of these creeks contains a very dense and robust bed of
both eelgrass and widgeongrass (see 104-12). This bed recovered very well in 2006 and
has gotten denser in 2007. In addition, many beds in Hungars Creek are
dense this year compared to 2006, but these are mainly dominated by
widgeongrass. SAV beds in the Gulf area, just south of Hungars Creek are
also denser this year.
Nassawadox Creek - SAV beds at the mouth of this creek are recovering and
denser in 2007 compared to 2006, but are definitely not as dense and
abundant as noted in 2005 and earlier years. SAV beds inside the creek are
present and dense, and are dominated by widgeongrass as noted in our 2007
quantitative survey. The area just north of the creek (Silver Beach) also
has some patchy SAV.
Occohannock Creek - more SAV is noted in 2007 than in 2006, primarily at the
mouth of the creek. But what is noted is far less than what has been
reported in earlier years.
Craddock Creek - SAV is present and more abundant and dense than in 2006 but
less than 2005 and earlier year. All SAV is at the mouth of the creek.
VIRGINIA SEASIDE COASTAL BAYS: FISHERMANS ISLAND, and SOUTH, COBB, SPIDER CRAB, and HOG ISLAND BAYS (Flight lines 139, 172, AND 173; flown May 23) (Quads 184, 186, and 212).
The small SAV bed at the north end of Fishermans Island is still
present. Eelgrass has been reported from this bed in previous years.
The SAV bed in South Bay, which has developed from our restoration efforts
since 1997, has not only expanded well south of the original plots, but the
area inside of our original 'set aside' area has also become denser (see 173-12). For
those who have followed our progress here, the signature 'B' and 'W', which
developed from a 1999 seed broadcast can no longer be detected on the
photographs, as that area is now one large, dense, continuous bed. And
many of our one acre plots seeded in 2001 and 2002 are also no longer
visible as they are part of this larger bed. Needless to say, it is pretty
impressive given there was no eelgrass here at all when we started in 1997.
SAV beds (again all eelgrass) in Cobb Bay continue to be present in the
2001 and 2003 restoration plots, and are also expanding naturally (see 173-14).
SAV in Spider Crab Bay is detectable in several, but not all of our
restoration plots (see 172-15, 172-16, 172-17).
In Hog Island Bay, no SAV is presently detectable on the photographs as we
just began our large scale restoration efforts in collaboration with the
UVA LTER folks here last year. We do know that there have been reports of
a number of natural patches as well as a small bed near Rogue
Island. These will have to be field surveyed to confirm their signatures
on the photos.
I had the chance over the weekend to informally check out Robin
Cove on the Chester River and saw approximately 40-50% coverage with
millfoil. I have also seen early growth of millfoil in Fairlee Creek
just above Tolchester on the upper Bay. Salinity levels at the station
I continuously monitor in Durding Creek on the Chester River side of
Eastern Neck Island have been in the 5-7 ppt range since last season
(down from 10 ppt at the beginning of last season), leading me to
think this might be a good season.
05/24/07 The Zanichellia is dense again in Cooks Point and there is
reproductive Ruppia in the central and east side, patchy now.
Eastern side of Todd's Cove by Chapel Creek there is patchy vegetative
Ruppia,but covering the entire area. Also the first creek on the right as
one goes into LeCompte Creek there was dense Zannichellia.
05/30/07 We went into Broad Creek and the Ruppia wasn't in Cedar,
Elbert's Cove East and West, or Mulberry. There was dense Ruppia along the
east side of Hambleton Island (northern most was dense). Coming South it
was patchier. The east shoreline of Broad Creek is again extremely
dense S. pectinata and reproductive from Holland Point up into Broad
Creek. There is an area of Zannichellia in a little cut up from
Holland Point. The east side entrance to Irish Creek is also a very
dense reproductive S. pectinata bed. There was some reproductive
Ruppia shoots. This area was a very dense Ruppia bed 5 years ago.
Continuing into Irish Creek along the east shoreline is patchy Ruppia
and then becomes a very dense Ruppia bed in that first cove. The Ruppia
makes a horseshoe shape along the cove banks and then into the center of
06/06/07 Bob Orth, VIMS
Aerial Update from May 31 and June 1 flights
The 2007 annual SAV survey continues with the successful completion of
flights on May 31 covering the lower eastern shore from Nandua Creek in
Virginia to the Big Annemessex River in Maryland, including Pocomoke Sound
(Flightlines 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, and 111), and a flight on June 1
covering Tangier, Smith, Southmarsh and Bloodsworth islands, and the Honga
River (Flightlines 5, 6, 12, 13, 14, 15, 112, and 113).
(http://www.vims.edu/bio/sav/sav07/flightlineindex.html). As in the first
update, I have tried to give some reasonable estimate of how beds look in
2007 compared to both 2006, which was one year after the dieback, as well
as in 2005 just prior to the dieback. Where appropriate, I have added
information from an extensive quantitative ground survey of dieback sites
we conducted this past spring, a repeat of what we did in 2006.
As in the previous update, it appears there are no major surprises and that
SAV distribution is similar to 2006. Some areas have gotten more dense,
others have remained the same, and some areas have re-appeared in 2007 as
very patchy, more than likely a result of plants that recolonized die back
in areas in 2006 but could not be detected on the aerial photos because
they were too small.
NANDUA CREEK (CB Segment CB7PH)
(Flight line 107; flown May 31) (Quads 113, 114, 119) SAV, which is concentrated in two large beds at the mouth of this creek,
one at the north and one on the south side, appears to be very similar in
both distribution and abundance as in 2006, as well as 2005.
PUNGOTEAGUE CREEK including PARKERS and FINNEYS ISLANDS (CB Segment CB7PH)
(Flight lines 107; flown May 31) (Quads 108, 113, and 114) SAV is concentrated at the mouth of Pungoteague Creek and around the
islands (denser between the islands and mainland, sparser in the offshore
bayside area) (see 107-8). The distribution is similar to 2006, but appears less than
2005. Some beds are denser in 2007 and it does appear that numerous small
patches are now present in the offshore areas of the islands that were
probably present in 2006 but were too small to be mapped.
ONANCOCK CREEK (CB Segment CB7PH)
(Flight line 107; flown May 31)(Quad 114) SAV is concentrated at the mouth and the distribution is similar to 2006,
but appears less than 2005. There really is very little SAV in this system.
BIG MARSH AREA (between Chesconessex and Deep Creek) and WEBB and HALFMOON
ISLAND and surrounding areas in Pocomoke Sound(CB Segments CB7PH and POCMH)
(Flight lines 106, 107, 108; flown May 31) (Quads 108, 109, and 114) SAV is similar to the 2006 distribution but a number of beds are denser in
some areas. Much of the SAV remains significantly reduced compared to
2005, except around Webb and Halfmoon islands as well as the large bed
offshore of these islands, where the distribution and abundance appears
similar to 2005 (see 107-15).
POCOMOKE SOUND (north side) including GREAT FOX ISLAND (CB Segments CB7PH and POCMH)
(Flight lines 109, 110, 111; flown May 31) (Quads 100, 101, 108, 109) SAV is present and quite dense along the east side of the Fox Islands and
in the shoal area called Cedar Straits (see 111-07). The overall distribution is similar
to 2006 and 2005. In our quantitative ground surveys in April, we found
this area to be dominated by widgeongrass. However, we found very little
eelgrass in this region at both our permanent stations as well as numerous
additional sites that we snorkeled, which was extremely discouraging, and
is reflected in a significant change in overall SAV distribution in what we
noted in the late 1980s and early 1990s. SAV along the north shore from
Cedar Straits heading to Broad Creek and into Broad Creek going to
Crisfield is present but very sparse and similar to what we noted in 2006
but is still less than what we reported in 2005.
LITTLE ANNEMESSEX RIVER(CB Segment TANMH)
(Flight lines 110, 111; flown May 31) (Quads 100, 101) SAV (both eelgrass and widgeongrass have been reported here) is present and
dense in several areas, notably at the mouth inside of Great Point and along
the shoreline just south of Somers Cove (see 111-10). However, many of the dense beds
noted in 2005 and reported as sparse in 2006 have remained sparse in 2007.
BIG ANNEMESSEX RIVER (CB Segment BIGMH)
(Flight line 110; flown May 31) (Quad 93) SAV is present primarily in beds at or near the mouth, especially in Shirtpond
Cove on the north side, adjacent to Jackson Island at the mouth of Jones
Creek on the south shore, and at the mouth of Daugherty Creek Canal (see 110-10). Most
beds appear similar to what was noted in 2006.
HONGA RIVER, BARREN ISLAND, TAR BAY (CB Segments CB5MH, HNGMH)
(Flight lines 12, 13, 14, 15 flown June 1) (Quads 72, 73, 74, 83, 91) SAV beds are evident at Bishops Head; Norman, Duck Point, Hearns, and Wingate coves; all around Aisquith Island; Lakes Cove to Wroten
Island; the large cove at the mouth of Charles Creek; the shoreline from
Seven Oaks Point (see 13-5) ; at the mouth of Charles Creek to Wallace Creek; Long Cove;
Bentley Cove all the way around Bentley Point to Cat Cove; Flag Cove; Rippons
Harbor; Cow Cove; and Tar Bay (see 15-4). These beds range from sparse to dense, and
are somewhat similar in distribution and abundance to what we noted in
2006. Because the area is dominated by widgeongrass (we also found some S.
pectinatus in past years but it was quite localized as was some eelgrass
but the areas were not surveyed in 2006 so we are unsure if eelgrass
survived after the 2005 dieback) there is quite a bit of variation in bed
dynamics to make any general conclusions. The overall abundance is still
down from peak years in the past.
WATTS ISLAND (CB Segment TANMH)
(Flight line 111; flown May 31) (Quad 107) SAV is extremely sparse this year and much less than what we noted in 2006
TANGIER and SMITH ISLAND (CB Segment TANMH)
(Flight lines 112, 113; flown June 1) (Quads 91, 92, 99, 100, 107)
SAV is dense and abundant in a number of locations, notably Mailboat Harbor
inside Tangier Island, the area around Fishbone Island (just north of
Tangier Island)(see 113-1) up to South Point Marsh on Smith Island (see 113-3), and Terrapin Sand
Cove (see 112-3). Eelgrass is abundant in the deeper portions and widgeongrass in the
shallows. The large shallow water area near Ewell (the Big Thoroughfare) (see 113-8)
and many of the cut-throughs to the island have dense to patchy SAV this
year. Overall, some beds appear denser in 2007 compared to 2006 and it
does appear there will be more SAV in 2007 compared to 2006. However, the
amount of SAV is still a far cry from what has been reported in the 1990s,
especially the deeper areas dominated by eelgrass.
SOUTHMARSH ISLAND (CB Segment TANMH)
(Flight lines 5, 6; flown June 1) (Quad 91) SAV beds are once again present in Sheepshead Harbor, Pry Cove, and Johnson
Cove, with general distribution similar to 2006 and 2005.
BLOODSWORTH ISLAND (CB Segment TANMH)
(Flight lines 5, 6; flown June 1) (Quad 83) The SAV noted last year
between Adam and Northeast islands and into Northeast Cove at the south end of
Bloodsworth is still present and similar to what we noted in 2006, and the
large bed in Okahanikan Cove is again present and dense. These areas are
dominated by widgeongrass with generally no eelgrass in this region.
HOLLAND ISLAND (CB Segment TANMH)
(Flight line 5; flown June 1) (Quads 83, 91) Two medium dense beds noted
in 2006 are still present, and are undoubtedly widgeongrass.
In general, water conditions appeared rather murky for much of the season,
yet the Zannichellia was quite abundant all spring. The appearance of
Hydrilla at all sites in the latter part of the season suggests that it will
once again dominate our fall collecting.
Outside our study area, we also noted some reasonably large mixed beds of SAV
(primarily Zannichellia and Hydrilla) at the mouth of the creek in an area of
As usual I've been out looking for grasses (hopefully in the right
places), with the following results so far this year:
1. Upper Old Man Creek, Magothy, 4/26/07: solid carpet of short Zp
(horned pondweed), starts where it gets too shallow for anything but
paddle craft. A bit of Cl - Callitriche beyond where I could paddle
at low tide in my kayak; no sign of the sago I usually see there
yet. Found some dark false mussels under rocks but all were dead.
2. Upper Patuxent at Jug Bay, 5/8/07: tide was too high to do much
sampling but I found a small patch of Zp and likely Hydrilla (Hv) on the east
side of the river, just upriver of the mouth of Western Branch. I'll
do more surveys there next week and will send results.
3. Severn River at Sherwood Forest, 5/10/07: DNR did a training
session for watershed groups in doing SAV sampling with tongs. We
found Ppf (redhead) that was 6-8" long and bright green, as well as
some Ppc (sago) in the same "broad leaf" form that I found in this
same area last May. Both species were shorter than they were in the
same area this week last year. Secchi 0.8 m, salinity 7 ppt. Pierre
Henkart did other surveys in this same area.
4. Severn River, College Creek, 5/15/07: Surveyed whole shoreline by
kayak with several other people as part of College Creek watershed
survey organized by Friends of College Creek. Found dense Zp in two
places: Peters Cove (next to Calvary Church just upstream of Rowe
Blvd bridge) and in the upper creek near Clay St. The rest of creek
had a few spots with very sparse Zp, and we found one very sparse
patch of Ms (milfoil). There was almost no SAV below the King George
St/450 bridge--almost all of that shoreline has bulkhead or riprap,
owned by the Naval Academy. Secchi 0.4 m, salinity 4 ppt in upper
creek, 7 ppt near mouth. See map. Living shoreline project
at St. Johns College is looking good, it just needs a few plants
replaced, according to Rob Schnabel (CBF)--see photo of
planted marsh. School groups planted Ppf - redhead grass off the new
marsh a bit later in May; we found a few floating shoots of Ppf on
May 15, so I'm not sure where they came from.
5. Severn River, Weems Creek, 6/1/07: Surveyed whole shoreline by
kayak with one of our summer interns, Kevin Arvai. Found dense but
short Zp in several places, including the upper tidal shallows, where
we found a solid carpet of short Zp as the creek started to become to
shallow for our kayaks. We decided not to proceed farther due to
shallow water and a particularly aggressive mute swan. See
map for two other locations with dense, short (carpet) Zp. We also
found Ms - milfoil in 2 places, Elodea - Ec in 1 (same place I found
it with Ms last year), and Ppf - redhead just outside the mouth of
the creek on the north side, just upriver of Priest Pt (2006 Quad 23,
lower right corner, bed SA2, see
http://www.vims.edu/bio/sav/sav06/quads/rb023d.html). The nearby SAV
planting site just inside Priest Pt where Corinne Irwin & I planted
redhead grown by citizens in 2003, which still had some redhead in
2006, did not appear to have any SAV this year, but waves were
breaking across the site so it was hard to survey safely.
6. Magothy River, Grays and Cornfield Creeks, 6/6/07: Kevin and I
helped a crew from BayLand led by Kendra Scheminant do SAV surveys of
two creeks that had been dredged. Anne Arundel County is paying
them to continue surveys twice a year after the dredging to see what
happens to the SAV area; this was the spring survey. They use a 21'
pontoon boat and take it to the shore at roughly every other pier,
and a person on the bow rakes for SAV, recording the deep edge of the
bed with a differential GPS, with another person writing down the
species and depths on a large, detailed paper map. Results are
digitized to make GIS maps.
In Grays we found that Ppu (slender pondweed) is still abundant in
the upper end of North Grays Creek, along with Ms milfoil, Ppf
redhead, Zp horned pondweed, Ec Elodea, and C Chara. Farther down
North Grays and in South grays we found less SAV and fewer species
(see map for details). Upper North Grays had more SAV near the
Sylvan View marina in 2005 when the water was clearer, from lingering
effects of the dark false mussels in 2004.
In Cornfield we found SAV at almost every place we checked, and Ppf
-redhead at 83% of the places we checked, so it is widely
distributed. We found 4 species in the long-lasting, dense, diverse
bed towards the lower eastern shore of the creek (waypoints 384-391),
but probably could have found more by wading (I've found 6-7 species
there in past years). The Ppu - slender that we first found there in
2006 was found in 2 areas on the upper westerns shore of the creek.
The SAV cover at the upper end of the creek remains less than it was
in 2004 when the dark false mussels were so abundant here, and water
clarity at the upper end of the creek almost doubled (monitored
weekly by a volunteer since 1992). See map for details.
06/11/07 Evamaria Koch, HPL-UMCES
Choptank River, Cape Charles breakwaters, Chincoteague Bay (Quads 053, 133, 172)
Choptank bridge: There is a beautiful Ruppia bed (flowering) between
the 2 bridge spans (south side) in an area protected by a sand spit.
That is the general area where I saw Ruppia floating later in the year,
Cape Charles breakwaters: Last week we checked the areas protected by
the breakwaters north of Cape Charles. There were small pockets of
Zostera and Ruppia (see map). We will be doing a project there
later this year.
Tizzard Island, Chincoteague Bay: Percent cover was abismal (<1%) at
out SeagrassNet site in May. The few shoots we found, were at mid depth
- nothing left in the shallow or in the deep! I am quite concerned about
the recovery of seagrasses in the area!
I spent the weekend on Fox Island and traveled on Saturday to Smith
Island, down to Tangier and back to Fox. Observed a lot of floating
grass throughout lower Tangier Sound, mostly Zostera, much more than
could be accounted for by scraping (and there wasn't much scraping
anyway). Also, the beds around the lodge at Fox looked to be reduced
by about a third from what I had observed there two weeks earlier.
We recorded water temperature at one location in the shallows of 78
degrees F, but it could have gotten much higher than that at other
locations and/or other points in the tidal cycle.
I recently ground surveyed a small area on San Domingo Creek in St. Michaels, MD - Talbot
County (see map). I observed multiple patches of horned pondweed ranging from very sparse to dense. Please see
map for the locations of the horned pondweed. Please note that I did
not survey the entire area, just the two coves that are shown on the aerial.
I will be going back out sometime this week to do a more complete survey.
I visited this area on 6/11/07 & 6/12/07 in conjunction with the "NOAA
Restoration Day" that we held there with about 150 NOAA staff on
6/12. We found mostly hydrilla (Hv) and horned pondweed (Zp) in the
shallows, 0.5 m deep or less at low tide, and coontail Cd at some
sites (see map). The main limiting factors for SAV here
appeared to be poor water clarity (Secchi depth was 0.35-0.4 m with
little recent rain) and current velocity (larger beds were found in
areas away from the main current, usually very close to the emergent
wetland plants, where there were also more extensive shallows caused
by settling of sediments there). Hydrilla seems to be gradually
taking over many of the SAV beds in the area, so the wild celery we
planted on June 12 will have to outgrow it to survive (see map for
planting location). I'll return to the area to check its growth and
expect to find more SAV species diversity as more plants come up;
there should be naiads in the area but we did not find any rooted
06/20/07 P.G. Ross, VIMS
Eastern Shore (Pungoteague and Onancock Flats) (Quad 114)
I've had some field work in the vicinity of the Pungoteague/Onancock flats.
This spring, after several seasons of significantly diminished SAV, the areas around the marsh
islands looked a lot better than I've seen in awhile. I'm not sure about the
overall footprint, but very lush in places. Yesterday I happened to be
riding by one of my duck blinds in the area and the eelgrass blades were
approximately 2 long in a quarter acre area (earlier in the year a nearby
~1-2 acre area was like this).
06/21/07 Bob Orth, VIMS
Aerial Update from June 7 and 17 flights
The 2007 annual SAV survey continues with the successful completion of flights on June 7 and 17 covering the eastern shore from Big Annemessex River to Fishing Bay (Flight lines 1, 1A, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11) and the western shore including the Piankatank River and Milford Haven, lower Rappahannock River including the Corrotoman River, and the area from Windmill Point to the Wicomico River near Reedville, VA (Flight lines 83, 84, 85, 86, 87A, 87B, 87C, 87D, 88, 89, 90, and 138) (http://www.vims.edu/bio/sav/sav07/flightlineindex.html).
We have been extremely fortunate this year in getting the imagery of SAV. A combination of reasonably good weather, little rainfall, excellent on-line information about winds and tides, good ground observations, and the willingness of our contractor to be ready at a moments notice (which always includes weekends), has resulted in our obtaining all of our lower bay flight lines in a very timely fashion and completes the acquisition of SAV imagery from a large area of the Chesapeake.
If you have any questions re. SAV on these photos or other features that may intrigue you, give us a call or e-mail. If you can zoom in on these photos, some of the SAV patterns are really neat to view.
PIANKATANK RIVER and MILFORD HAVEN (CB Segment PIAMH) (Flight lines 89, 90, 91; flown on June 8) (Quads 117, 118, 123)
SAV in the Piankatank and Milford Haven areas remain at very low levels. While a few areas appear denser in 2007 compared to 2006, they remain below what was noted in 2005. The densest beds in Milford Haven are at the south end of Gwynns Island (referred to as “the Hole in the Wall”). In the Piankatank River there are some very patchy beds dominated by widgeongrass along both shores up to Healy Creek, and the bed reported in our previous observations in the shoal area off Healy Creek (dominated by eelgrass with some lesser amounts of widgeongrass) is still present and denser than noted in 2006.
LOWER to MIDDLE RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER and CORROTOMAN RIVER (CB Segment RPPMH, CRRMH) (Flight lines 86, 87a,b,c,d, 88; flown on June 8)(Quads 110, 111, 116, 117, 118)
Almost all of the SAV in this section is along the north shore from Windmill Point to Towles Point. Sparse to dense beds were noted along the north shore at Windmill Point, Mosquito Islands, at the mouth of Carters Creek, along the shoreline from the Route 3 bridge past Carters Creek to the mouth of the Corrotoman (see 87A-2), and along both shorelines of the Corrotoman. Beds in some places are similar to those noted in 2006, but some beds are also denser and a few are less dense. Almost all SAV reported has been widgeongrass with some eelgrass near the mouth at Windmill Point. which explains much of the variation we have been observing.
There is virtually no SAV along the south shore from Stingray Point. to Urbanna. What little SAV present is directly behind Parrott Island.
WINDMILL POINT (mouth of RAPPAHANNOCK) to SMITH POINT (mouth of POTOMAC) (CB Segment CB5MH)(Flight lines 83, 84, 85, 86, 138; flown on June 17) (Quads 106, 112)
SAV (past surveys have reported both eelgrass and widgeon grass) is present in the same areas as in the past surveys: Fleets Bay (see 85-2), and Dymer, Indian, and Dividing creeks, Dameron Marsh (see 83-1). Many beds are very patchy and similar to what was reported in 2006, which remains much less than what we noted in 2005. The large SAV bed at Dameron Marsh remains considerably reduced in density from what was reported in 2005 and earlier. Very little SAV is noted in the Great Wicomico River.
BIG ANNEMESSEX RIVER (CB Segment BIGMH) (Flight line 1 and 1A; flown June 17) (Quad 93) - SAV is present primarily in beds at or near the mouth, especially in Shirtpond Cove on the north side, adjacent to Jackson Island at the mouth of Jones Creek on the south shore (see 110-10), and at the mouth of Daugherty Creek Canal. Most beds appear similar to what was noted in 2006 but denser.
DEAL ISLAND AND LOWER MANOKIN RIVER (CB Segment MANMH) (Flight lines 2, 3, 4; flown June 17) (Quad 84) - There is not a lot of SAV in this system in 2007 and is similar to that noted in 2006. Most SAV is present at the mouth between Hazard Cove and Goose Creek along the south side and Little Deal Island on the north side.
WICOMICO and NANTICOKE RIVERS to FISHING BAY (CB Segments WICMH, NANMH, FSBMH) (Flight lines 4-11; flown June 17) (Quads 74, 75, 83, 84, 85)- There is essentially no SAV in these sections, as noted in all previous years.
06/21/07 Peter Bergstrom, NOAA
South River -- transect sampling with oyster tongs (Quads 030, 031)
I helped Drew Koslow, South River Keeper do the SAV transect sampling
based on the methods Nancy Rybicki has used on the Potomac for
years. MD-DNR got a grant from Chesapeake Bay Trust to pay for
materials and expenses for watershed groups (river keepers and river
associations) to do the sampling. Our two summer interns in my
office, Kevin Arvai and Brittany Wilson, also helped us.
We found enough SAV to do transects at 2 sites, and each took about
an hour (2nd had less SAV and went faster). We found 3 species at
each of the transect sites; more Ppc (sago) than usual probably due
to higher salinity (9 ppt), generally found a bit deeper than the
other species, along with Zp (horned pondweed) and Rm
(widgeongrass). Ppc (sago) had not been reported in the South River
in the VIMS maps since 2002, another drought year. It was a
challenge to our ID skills to have the three most similar looking
species growing together, but luckily most of the Zp and some of the
Ppc had seeds, and most of the Ppc had short, clear bayonets in the
leaf axils. The Rm was still the short form with no flowers seen,
which seems like slower growth than usual. We checked 6 other sites
that had SAV in the past (either mapped by VIMS or found in past
years by Drew--you can see where we stopped on the map) and none had
more than a few shoots of Zp so we did not do transects there. We
used a metal basket on a rope to check for SAV before doing
transects. Dropping 6 buoys to mark the sampling points worked well,
estimating 10 m as a bit longer than the boat, then we pulled up each
buoy after we sampled it. I stored a waypoint at each buoy and they
were quite close to 10 m apart. The two sites where we did transects
were shallow enough that one person held the boat in place during
sampling, so we needed the four people we had. We saw no sea
06/22/07 Drew Koslow, South River Federation, Inc.
This is a cumulative report taken from my weekly water quality
monitoring runs on South River and from a day spent sampling two
mapped beds on South River yesterday (6/21) with Peter Bergstrom and interns from the NOAA office.
Generally speaking there was much less Zannichellia on the River this
year than the last several years. Instead of large beds with very dense
coverage, I saw patchy beds with thin coverage. I did observe
zannichellia growing in Duvall Creek, Selby Bay, Glebe Bay, Church
Creek, Warehouse Creek, Gingerville Creek, Aberdeen Creek, Little
Aberdeen Creek and Harness Creek. I also observed dense growth of short
form zannichellia up in the headwaters of Broad Creek, Beards Creek and
Flat Creek. Those beds tend to be destroyed early in May when the
carp spawn destroys water clarity.
I sampled two mapped beds with Peter Bergstrom, Kevin Arvi
and Brittany Wilson. One was at the mouth of Selby Bay adjacent to South
River Farm Park. This bed ran from Mayo Point to Long Point from 35' off
shore out to the ledge where water depths drop from 2.5' mlw - 5.5' mlw.
In our sampling we found Zannichellia, Potomageton pectinatus and
Ruppia. There was much more Zannichellia and Sago Pondweed than Widgeon
grass. Coverage was extraordinary for South River. Density over the
entire 15-20 acre bed was 75%.
The other bed we looked at was in Glebe Bay. This bed was essentially a
remnant. Very thin coverage 1-10%, no visible SAV, but we did find
Sago, Horned Pondweed and Widgeon in trace amounts. It appears that
maybe scouring has deepened the water adjacent to a long stretch of
bulkhead. Depths at this site were .8 - .9 meters while depths at Selby
Bay were 0.6- 0.75 meters. Secchi readings at Selby was 0.7 meters, and
in Glebe Bay was 0.4 meters.
We have a Sea Grant project going on in the Little Choptank. As part of
that, we "mapped" the SAV at Casson's Point (please see Map 1) and McKeil Point (please see Map 2). Please note that the SAV beds (mix of Ruppia and Zanichelia) are closer to shore than shown
on the maps.
On 6/24/07 I surveyed Durding Creek on the Chester River side of
Eastern Neck. The entire shoreline of the creek was surveyed out to a
depth of 3-4 feet. With the exception of a small clump of widgeon grass
at N39-02'-02.4"/W076-12'-57.4" and floating strands of widgeon grass
near that spot nothing was seen or accessed by rake. Water clarity
(secchi depth) was .5m or less, salinity was 9.5 ppt.
06/27/07 Peter Bergstrom, NOAA
Magothy River, Shallow Creek and Rocky Point (Quads 019, 023, 024)
In all of these visits we were looking for Va (wild celery) for Katia
Englehardt's research done with her colleague, Maile Neel, and her
student, Mike Lloyd. They are studying the genetics of natural and
restored Va populations in the Bay. The Magothy beds are the
southernmost ones I know in MD; if anyone knows of any farther south,
please let me know (Patuxent?).
Magothy River, 6/25/07
Tides at both sites were higher than the low we expected, and the
expected sun did not break through the clouds, so it was hard to see
any plants, even with a view scope.
1. Little Magothy (restored) -- We found no trace of the small amount
of Va that was planted here with Ppf several years ago, possibly in
2003, which I found there on 9/8/05
(http://www.vims.edu/bio/sav/sav05/quads/gi024_page.html). There was
some surviving Ppf - redhead from more recent plantings done by Denny
Mekic and his students at Broadneck High School, and some Zp - horned
pondweed. Secchi depth was poor, 0.5 m
2. South Ferry Point (natural) -- We waded from Moorings on the
Magothy which is towards the eastern end of the point, and walked
west. We found 15 locations where we could sample Va using a shrub
rake, which seemed to be about the same extent it had last August
(see http://www.vims.edu/bio/sav/2006obs.html#noaa081106 and scroll
to #8), although it was shorter today and seemed less dense. It was
not dense in any of these spots and the shoots were about 6-8" long
with what looked like a few male flowers forming. We only sampled it
where it was not mixed with Ppf--there were several spots where they
were mixed. Ppf was also shorter and seemed less dense than in this
area last August. We also found some Zp - horned pondweed with
seeds, short form Rm - widgeon grass with epiphytes and green
bayonets but no flowers or seeds, and short form Ppc-sago with clear
bayonets that looked bushier than the Rm, with no flowers or seeds.
Secchi depth was poor, 0.5 m.
3. Grachur Club, south of mouth of Cockey Creek (restored) -- Most
of the wild celery we planted here on 6/18 seemed to be surviving.
Secchi depth was 0.7 m, a bit better than at the other two Magothy
I forgot to check salinity at these sites, but it was 8.6 ppt,
surface and bottom, in the mouth of Forked Creek on 6/16/07. Forked
Creek is between the Little Magothy and South Ferry Point, and I've
sampled water quality there since 1992. Last year on the same date
it was higher, 10.6 ppt on the surface, before the big June rain, and
in wet years it's been as low as 3.6 ppt here in June (on 6/27/03).
Shallow Creek, mouth of Patapsco River, 6/26/07
Tides were about as low as we expected at this and the next site, and
the plants were taller than in the Magothy with of sun, so we could
see many of the plants without using a view scope. Water was not
much clearer than it was in the Magothy, however.
1. Inside RR causeway (planted site)--WOW!!! The planted Va from
1999, 2000, and/or 2003 plantings we did here (the first 3 I did when
I worked for US FWS with Va from NPMC and Ppf & Ppc from AACC, last
was organized by DNR with help from me) has expanded to cover almost
the whole shoreline out to near the channel and some of the Ppf we
planted is still present as well. The bed may be larger than it was
last year, and it extended over a depth range from about 0.3 m (quite
close to shore) to 0.8 m at low tide. Secchi depth was only 0.4 m,
salinity 6 ppt by refractometer. See online 2006 map at
http://www.vims.edu/bio/sav/sav06/quads/sp019th.html, beds K1 (deeper)
and J3 (closer to shore), and the map of our waypoints. We
did not have time to check its full extent and will definitely be
back to check further--let me know if you want to join me. The
genetic research may help us determine whether the Va here is all
planted, or some came from the natural bed on the other side of the
causeway. See photo of Katia and Becky in this bed.
2. Outer Cove (natural site)--The natural Va in the very shallow
"outer cove" was doing very well, covering at least as much area as
last year (see http://www.vims.edu/bio/sav/sav06/quads/sp019th.html -
beds M2, N3, and O1, and the map of our waypoints). The Va
was mixed with patches of Ppf that could have come from what we
planted on the other side of the outer cove, since we found no Ppf in
this creek before we started planting it here in 1999. There were
patches of Va and some Ppf and sago (Ppc) all the way across the
cove--we did not want to use the motor to avoid chopping it, so we
did not have time to check the whole area. We found traces of milfoil
(Ms) as we moved farther up the cove; in past years, the beds in the
upper end of this cove were mostly milfoil. See photo of
redhead with seeds from this bed.
Mouth of Back River (Rocky Point), 6/26/07
Like the two Shallow Creek sites, these two are a restored site
(called Rocky Point Creek on the DNR web site, although that creek
has no official name that I could find) separated by a short overland
walk to a natural site (Hawk Cove, just up the Bay from Rocky Point,
which is a public beach at Rocky Point Park that looks out on Hart
Miller Island). See map.
1. Rocky Point Creek (restored site)--We walked along a road until we
saw fencing and I waded out to collect about a dozen leaf tips for
genetic analysis. It wasn't as mucky as Lee had led me to believe--I
have planted in muckier sites (including the outer cove of Shallow
Creek). I don't know how many clumps were planted, but I scooted
around most of the exclosure and felt quite a few clumps of Va along
its edges. Very few were visible from the surface.
2. Hawk Cove (natural site)--We walked out from the beach and soon
found some redhead (Ppf) with lots of seeds in quite shallow water,
about 0.3 m deep. As we walked out deeper and went north, this
changed to mostly Va with some Ppf, and we took 30 samples. Jim
Anderson's paddle wheel boat planted Va in Hawk Cove in 2003, before
it had more than a few scattered patches of natural Va, but as far as
I could tell, all of those plants died before natural Va spread
further into the cove (see
http://www.vims.edu/bio/sav/2005obs.html#noaa092805). The area we
sampled this year was south of where the boat planted in 2003. As in
Shallow Creek, the genetic analysis may tell us whether this Va is
natural or restored.
We have looked over most of the Corsica River and can find no SAV.
The water is much too filled with algae blooms, preventing any sun
light from reaching any plant life. We have seen some floating
Horned pondweed but that's it.
The flats look good. Clarity is OK on the western side of the channel and
the eastern side of the flats, absolutely excellent near the channel, with
plants growing in 5'+ water depths at low tide. Even towards the mouth of
the Northeast, milfoil was growing in 4' of water (tide was starting to run
back in). The plants are definitely to the surface and would be very
visible from the air, given adequate WQ and weather.
See map for an outline of the boat track (overlayed with 2006 photos). More detailed observations will follow.
This small creek has two colleges (St. Johns College and the US Naval
Academy) on its shores, and has had very little (possibly no) SAV
mapped in it over the years. Much of its watershed is covered with
office buildings (including he DNR building) and part of the USNA
Stadium and its parking lots. We checked it for SAV on 5/15/07 (see
Item 4 at http://www.vims.edu/bio/sav/2007obs.html#noaa060807) and
returned after the horned pondweed died back to see if there were any
other SAV growing there.
See the map of our SAV survey results from 7/11/07. Thanks to
Zora Lathan, Elizabeth Ley, Claudia Donegan, Nick Maistrellis, and
Kevin Arvai for braving the heat with me. Claudia spotted the most
wildlife (including a muskrat and two young foxes) and also found
many of the small patches of SAV and the one site with dark false
As I expected, most of the horned pondweed (Zp) we saw on 5/15/07 had
died back due to the high temperatures, but we did find some
scattered small patches of more persistent SAV species: Rm
widgeongrass, Ppf redhead grass, and Ms Eurasian watermilfoil.
Unfortunately, most of these were short, sickly shoots in small
numbers, which tend not to last very long, based on my experience
with similar "pioneer" beds in the Magothy and elsewhere in the
Severn. The one bed that looked healthy enough to last was directly
across the creek from the living shoreline project at St. John's
College (waypoints 495 and 496 on the map). This was the
only "naked eye bed" we found; we could all see the plants without a
view scope even though they were not quite growing to the surface,
and the water was pretty murky (Secchi depths 0.6-0.7 m). We looked
for the redhead grass that we heard had been planted next to the
living shoreline project in May, but did not see any (we did not rake
the area because it was too large, and we did not want to rake up new
The one site with dark false mussels was at Waypoint 318, just below
the end of the Adams Academy building. There were both large and
small live mussels on several branches (see photo1 and photo2),
suggesting that they are reproducing. There did not appear to be
enough mussels to clear the water since the Secchi depth at that site
was about the same as at other sites in the creek. There's always a
slight chance that these are zebra mussels although the salinity
seems too high (10 ppt)--I know an expert at DNR, I'll ask him to
The bottom DO in the creek was not good for fish: all 5 stations we
sampled had almost no DO near the bottom, ranging from 0.32-0.6 mg/l
at stations from 1.6 to 2.9 m deep. Surface DO was also quite low,
3.4-4.9 mg/l, even though there was a slight breeze. Nearby Weems
Creek has had fish kills, but none have been reported from College
Patuxent River just upriver of Western Branch, 7/13/07 (Quad 159,
We returned to the spot where we planted wild celery about a month
ago, on 6/12/07, as part of the the "NOAA Restoration Day" we did in
the Jug Bay area. Thanks for Candace Morrell (MD CB-NERRS), Alison
Hammer (NOAA) and Kevin Arvai (our intern) for helping me do the
survey on a beautiful day. See map of our route and what we
found: lots of hydrilla (Hv) and a bit of coontail (Cd), plus a bit
of the wild celery (Va) that we planted in June.
We heard from Greg Kearns (Patuxent River Park) that he saw about 6
clumps of wild celery surviving there (one "substantial") on 7/3/07,
and we were pleased to find that some of it was still there, probably
the "substantial" patch. Hydrilla was a way of smothering other
planted species, and hydrilla seems to be increasing in that part of
the Patuxent. We found what appeared to be one or two cat litter
pans of wild celery that had survived (see map, and photo with the plants marked). We suspect that this was from one of the
batches with longer shoots at planting time; many of the pans had
only short shoots when planted. Otherwise the shallows were full of
dense hydrilla (Hv) with bits of coontail (Cd)--see photo of
The wild rice that Greg and others have planted near Jug Bay was in
bloom, see photo.
07/11/07-The cove just east of the narrows with lat N38.97382/long W076.24037 was surveyed from this point to a point with lat N38.97186/long W076.23915. Beds extend about 20m out from banks of the cove. Species was predominantly redhead grass with some patches of elodea and millfoil. Secchi depth was .5m and salinity was 10.5 ppt.
07/11/07-The cove with a center spot at lat N38.97281/long W076.23540 was surveyed and found to have beds of wigeon grass extending from the southern shore out about 50m.
07/15/07 - The west side of Eastern Neck was surveyed from the bridge lat N39.05407/long W076.22219 to Ingleside Recreation Area, lat N39.04586/long W076.23320. SAV beds were found in a cove north of Tubby Cove (lat 39.04978/long 076.22051), in Tubby Cove (lat 39.04835/long 076.22317 and lat 39.04593/long 076.22315) itself, and in Calf Pasture Cove (lat 39.04028/long 076.22253 and lat 39.04381/long 076.22473). Greatest extent of growth was in Tubby Cove and Calf Pasture Cove with coverage in the 3-5 acre range. The predominant species was elodea, which was almost absent in this area last season. There were also patches of redhead grass and lesser amounts of wigeon grass and millfoil. Wigeon grass was one of the most abundant species last season, and seems to be present in much lesser amounts this season. Secchi depth was .5 m and salinity was 11 ppt.
Eastern Neck Narrows (east or Chester River side) from a point at the
bridge lat N39.05518/long W76.22200 going south along the shore of the
island into Frying Pan Cove lat N39.05056/long W76.21896 to Boxes Point
lat N39.05014/long W76.21283. Along this track the only SAV was in a
small inlet at lat N39.04948/long W76.21311 where patches of wigeon
grass and sago pondweed were found.
Eastern Neck Narrows (east or Chester River side) from a point at lat
N39.05575/long W76.21041 along the north shore, into Church Creek (east
shore) to a point at lat N39.06327/long W76.21408, out of Church Creek
(along the western shore) and back to the bridge lat N39.05518/long
W76.22200. SAV was present only in Church Creek with beds of redhead
grass and wigeon grass. The beds appear to cover less area than last
season, extending out from the shore only 3-5 meters in most locations.
Most of the growth was on the eastern shore, with only patches on the
I will return to this area and complete the survey of Church Creek.
Salinity in the narrows was measured at 11 ppt, secchi depth was .5m at
best, less in some areas.
We observed wild celery, redhead grass, curly pondweed and horned
pondweed, during the June 2007 exterior HMI SAV survey, with about 20 -
35% coverage overall. At the time we surveyed, the water depth ranged from
2 to 6 ft. with an average Secchi depth reading of 1.4 ft. This year's SAV
coverage was not as good as past years; especially compared to 2004 when
we had exceptionally clear water.
2006: The water depth ranged from 2 to 4 ft. of water with an average
Secchi depth of 1.5 ft. Overall coverage in the area was estimated at 20%
- 40%, with species wild celery, redhead grass, curly pondweed and horned
2005: Secchi depth readings were recorded at 3-4 ft in 3-5 ft of water.
Overall coverage in the area during the spring was estimated at 40% to
50%. Redhead grass and wild celery were the 2 species observed.
2004: Water depths and secchi depths during the survey were 2 to 5 ft;
redhead grass, wild celery, curly pondweed, sago pondweed were observed;
Overall coverage in the area was estimated at 40% to 60%.
07/26/07-Upper Chester River, Kent County. Survey begun at the public
landing at the end of Buckingham Rd, at lat N39.23793/ long W076.01479
proceeding upriver along the shore to a point at lat N39.24186/long
W076.00063. Found patches of spiny naiad (Najus minor) all along the
track. extending from the shore out 3-5 m. Found no traces of the
eurasion millfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) that was present during the
previous two seasons. Found a small, struggling patch of wild celery
(Vallisneria americana) at lat N39.24473/ log 076.00840.
Secchi depth less than 0.4m.
07/31/07-Lower Chester River, Eastern Neck Island. Survey begun at the
public landing at Bogle's Wharf on Eastern Neck at lat N39.03222/long
W076.20963 and proceeded northward along the river side of the island
to a point at lat N39.04162/long 076.21185. Found no traces of any
SAV. Bogle's Cove at lat N39.03951/long 076.21078 had beds as
recently as last season, they appear gone.
Secchi depth= 0 .4m. Salinity 11 ppt.
08/05/07-Lower Chester River, Kent County, Church Creek. Survey begun
at the mouth of the creek on the west shore, at lat N39.05843/long-
W076.21751 and proceeded up the western shore to a point at lat
N39.08030/long W076.21936. All along the track there were patches of
wigeon grass (Ruppia maritima) very close to the shore, out to a
distance of less than 5 m. At the beginning of the track there were
several patches of redhead grass (Potamogeton perfoliatus). Growth was
densest closer the the creek mouth. East shore surveyed from lat
N39.08030/long W076.21936 to a point at lat N39.06327/long 076.21408,
with patches of ruppia only. Again growth was greatest closer to the
mouth of the creek. All growth hugged the shoreline, and out to less
than 10 m. This area had decent beds of ruppia and redhead grass last
season though they appeared in decline from previous seasons. Secchi
depth = 0.4 m. Salinity=11 ppt.
On 8/22/07, Hail Creek on Eastern Neck Island was surveyed for SAV. The perimeter of the creek was surveyed from a point at lat
N39.00929/long W76.21006 to a point at lat N39.01434/long W76.20908 on
the southeast shore. With the exception of some small patches of
wigeon grass near lat N39.02263/long W76.20919 there was no evidence
of any major growth. This is substantially down from last years
observations. Secchi depth was .4m or less.
I would like to report the total loss of SAV is two regions of Eastern Bay
totaling about 3 to 4 miles.
The first is Claiborne from the public landing extending down the coast
south for about 1 to 1 1/2 miles. The second is from the farm road just
north of the Witman cuttoff on the road to Tilghman Island on the bay
side. There is a loss of 1 1/2 to 2 miles.
Both of these locations had some of the last solid beads of grasses as of 3
Observed in the Claiborne were two cownose rays in about 1 foot of
water. This was similar to another observation again 3 years ago on Kent Island south 1/2 miles above Holigans Snooze extending at least 3/4
mile northward. In this location grasses were evident in June/July but
on a site visit in August were extremely devistated. Observed was a large
school of cow nose rays in the water. (Waded across the area, and saw
We did 4 Magothy transects today and they showed less SAV
than I found at the same spots last year, but more sago and less wild
celery due to the higher salinity (10-14 ppt). The tides seemed to be
running higher than predicted today as well--we were out at the low tide
time (noon) and some of the transects ran out to 1.4 m deep which seems
deep for 60 m offshore in an SAV bed.
There was some redhead at 50 m off South Ferry Point, about 1.4 m deep at
11:30, which is pretty deep for SAV in the Magothy, and you would not pick
those up in photos if the low tide were deeper than normal. In Swan Cove
the deepest beds were at 0.9 m, also 50 m offshore, at Stonington they
were 0.8 m deep, 60 m offshore, and there were SAV at 60 m off Gibson
Island W shore, at 1.0 m deep. Where we found it at 60 m offshore,
presumably it went out a bit deeper.
Secchi depths at the transect sites were 1.0-1.2 m. We saw quite a few
sea nettles but most were small.
Most sites had a mixture of redhead and sago, except we found one shoot of
wild celery at Stonington (and none at S. Ferry Pt. where I found some in
June), and Swan Cove had a mixture of redhead and widgeon. None of the
sago or widgeon had seeds which suggests it is stressed; a bit of the sago
had flowers, but none of the widgeon. We saw one sago tuber.
We conducted our fifth year of shallow water habitat monitoring (including
SAV survey) at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Mason Neck off-shore breakwater
sites located near High Point and Sandy Point in the Occoquan Bay.
SAV has been steadily filling in behind both sets of breakwaters since
they were constructed in 2002. Now (five years later) there were very
dense beds behind each set of breakwaters. No SAV was located channel
ward of the breakwater sets.
A dense (estimated cover 100%) bed was identified shoreward of the
northern breakwater set, south of Sandy Point, which consists of 40% H.
verticillata, 40% N. minor, 15% V. americana, 15% M. spicatum, 10% H.
dubia, and trace amounts of C. demersum. A sparse (estimated cover <10%)
bed of 45% V. americana, 45% M. spicatum, 5% H. verticillata, and 5% H.
dubia was identified to the north of these breakwaters. A sparse
(estimated cover <10%) bed of 50% M. spicatum and 50% H. dubia was
identified to the south of these breakwaters.
A dense (estimated cover 90%) bed was identified shoreward of the southern
breakwaters set, north of High Point, which consists of 70% H.
verticillata, 20% V. americana, 5% M. spicatum, and 5% H. dubia. A sparse
(estimated cover 40%) bed of 100% V. americana was identified north of
these breakwaters. No SAV was located to the south of these breakwaters.
There are some differences between the northern and southern breakwater
that are worth noting. The northern breakwater sits off shore of a
rip-rap stabilized shoreline, the water depth behind the breakwaters
averages 2 -3 feet at low tide, and the bottom is mucky silt you often
sink into up to the knee. The southern breakwater sits off a nearly
vertical eroding cliff about 30 feet high, the water depth averages about
1 foot at low tide, and the bottom is firm composed of sandy silts.
The Severn Secchi depths were excellent today--two were 1.5 m, one 1.6
m, one 1.15 m. Salinity was 12-14 ppt by refractometer and we saw some
The water was higher than usual, as predicted, but that's no problem for
tongs, and it made it easier to get the boat to the closest sampling
point 10 m offshore. We were sampling the Asquith bed at 1 PM, the
predicted low tide time, and the water was not very shallow for low tide
(1.0 m). The Asquith bed had very dense redhead (up to 520 ml in one
grab, far more than in any South or Magothy samples, or other Severn
samples) but very little widgeon.
Seeing the SAV from the air will be harder than usual because the
widgeon grass was almost all short form. We saw only a few clumps of
long form, and it had flowers, not seeds--far behind the usual timing.
We found no sago, although it appeared to have replaced widgeon in the
lower Magothy on Sat.
The other three transects (in addition to Asquith) were outside Martins
Pond/Whitehurst Lake which had very sparse SAV, only found in 3 of 18
grabs, max volume 6 ml; Sullivan Cove, much denser, up to 220 ml per
grab of redhead and 110 ml of widgeon, both species still dense at 60 m
offshore (depth 1.0 m); and outside Brewer Pond, which also had dense
SAV with up to 220 ml of redhead and 130 ml of widgeon, but the redhead
was sparse at 50 and 60 m offshore (depths 0.8-0.9 m).
Thanks to Pierre Henkart for driving Fred's boat and keeping us on the
sampling points, Mark for doing all the tonging, and Pierre's wife
Danalee and Linda Smith for helping me sort the species, measure the
volumes, and record the data.
There is a S. pectinata bed at the east entrance to Irish Creek off Lucy Pt. There is some Ruppia in there as
well. There is another S. pectinata bed along the east shoreline of the
entrance to Broad Creek leading to the Bridge Creek which is full of
reproductive Ruppia. As one follows around Lucy Point (Irish Creek) the
bed becomes interspersed more with Ruppia and continuing into that first
cove in Irish Creek is a beautiful reproductive Ruppia dominated
bed. Cooks Point Cove is very dense reproductive Ruppia. It covered the
east and south shores and continued west into the central portion of the
cove, over halfway.
Please see secchi data from the Severn River from yesterday's
monitoring. We found continuing good water clarity pretty much
throughout, and our data is compatible with what Peter Bergstrom reported
from Tuesday's SAV monitoring trip. Hopefully the current clear air and
lower water levels will allow aerial surveillance to procede.
The shoreline between Limehouse Cove and Selby Bay is also called
South River Farms Park, and that was the only place we found dense
SAV in both our June and Sept transects. In June we scouted several
other possible sites in the river, in Sept we did not. The transect
at South River Farms Park was labeled South SAV 2 in the map. On 8/27
at that site, we found a mixture of widgeongrass (Rm), more at the
shallow end (10-50 m offshore), and moderately dense sago (up to 55
ml/grab) from 30-60 m off shore (off the breakwater) where the water
was only 0.6-0.65 m deep. We could not see any of the very scant
grasses (Rm only) at Glebe Bay from the boat on 8/27, so I doubt the
aerial photo camera could see them.
I surveyed the upper Magothy from Old Man Creek down to Henderson
Point and the mouth of Ross Cove by kayak today, with Eric
Kaminetzky. Secchi depth near Ross Cove was 1.05 m, OK for summer
but not great, and salinity was 13 ppt, reflecting the drought this
We found much less SAV that I found in the same areas last August, on
8/8/06 (see http://www.vims.edu/bio/sav/2006obs.html#noaa081106)
which was in turn less than what I found in the same areas in 2005
(see http://www.vims.edu/bio/sav/2005obs.html#noaa091405). The
map shows where we found one piece of sickly redhead above
Henderson Point, where there was a dense bed of Ppf, Rm and Ppu last
August, and only one shoot of wild celery where we planted it in 2006
and 2007, at the Grachur Club near the mouth of Cockey Creek. We
found no SAV outside of Ross Cove where there was dense redhead two
years ago (in 2005) but not last year.
It appears that "new" redhead beds in the upper Magothy die back
sooner than more established beds (during August or September). This
happened in this area in both 2005 and 2006. I can't tell if it
happened in 2007 since I did not survey these areas until today this
Neabsco Creek - Large area of SAVs at upper end (furthest away from Railroad
Bridge) of Marina (see photos 004 & 005). See photos 009 and 010 for samples of SAVs found. The upper embayment has large amounts of lily pads. Right across
from marina, near Railroad Bridge area of lily pads (see photo 002).
Pohick Creek - North of the Pohick Bay park boat ramp, abundant SAVs found. Most
were under the water and had not emerged. Water was very clear due to the SAVs (see bottom).
Dogue Creek - Abundant SAVs found from mouth into embayment. Water was very
clear due to the SAVs (see bottom).
Here are the latest Secchi depths through mid-September off of the Hart-Miller Island pier.
8/9- Secchi 0.25m, H20 depth 5.2ft
8/16- Secchi 0.5m, H20 depth 6.0ft
8/23- Secchi 0.75m, H20 depth 6.9ft
8/30- Secchi 1m, H20 depth 5.8ft
9/6- Secchi 0.5m, H20 depth 4.6ft
9/13- Secchi 0.75m, H20 depth 5.4ft
10/23/07 Bob Orth, VIMS
We have successfully completed the 2007 SAV annual survey. The challenges
we had to acquire the imagery this year mirror those we have had in past
years except they seemed a bit worse this year -i.e., very few 'good' days for
the acquisition phase because of haze, water clarity, higher 'low' tides
just when we thought we had good atmospheric conditions, and greater
airspace restriction over DC and the Aberdeen Proving Grounds. The
availability of numerous web sites giving real time environmental data for
both water and air quality has allowed us to make quick decisions on
altering plans to insure we acquired the imagery under the most optimal
conditions. Cooperation with security officials at Aberdeen Proving
Grounds (and incredible luck with good weather on Sundays, about the only
day we can get in their airspace) and the willingness of our contractor to
work with APG security and all the other airspace restrictions around DC
has insured we obtained all the imagery on time.
The information below covers all the remaining areas of the bay not
reported in the last update which is pretty much all the mid and low
salinity areas of the bay and tributaries. We have had a lot of ground
information sent to us over the summer and those reports can be viewed on
our web site (http://www.vims.edu/bio/sav/2007obs.html)
Notable things this year (both + and -) for upper and middle bay and trib
· The continued phenomenal up-beat story of the SAV beds on the Flats
and the persisting dense beds throughout the Elk and Bohemia!
· Some robust beds in areas of in the Middle, Gunpowder and Bush rivers.
· Persistent beds of SAV in the Severn and Magothy although the
Magothy showed some declines.
· Very dense SAV beds along both shorelines in the upper Potomac from
Aquia Creek and Wades Bay to just below the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.
· Dense stands of SAV (dominated by hydrilla) in the VA tribs of the
Pamunkey, Mattaponi, and Chickahominy rivers. And although the mainstem of
the upper James remains unvegetated, a number of small creeks entering the
James: e.g. Powell Creek) have SAV beds which are dominated by hydrilla. It
is now just a question of when hydrilla will show up in the mainstem, and
when it happens, will it follow the course of hydrilla expansion noted in the Potomac in
the early 1980s?
· Very reduced beds in the lower Potomac River up to Nanjemoy Creek
except for the St. Mary's.
· Almost no SAV in Eastern Bay and the Chester River and the smaller
tribs just north of Eastern Neck Island.
· Intriguing abundance of SAV in the Choptank with dense beds in Cook
Pt Cove and Chapel Creek and a very dense bed of S. pectinatus at the mouth
of Irish Creek with some beds of widgeongrass just north and south of that
bed - but that was it!
· No SAV observed in the Little Choptank River.
Other notable things to look at:
· Salinity levels in many areas of the bay. In some places it is now
higher than the 20+ year maximum levels- not good for some of the
freshwater SAVs in those areas.
In a few months we will be releasing the 2006 final report. The report
will have an entire new face which will include an
interactive map that will allow you to see the actual photography for 2006.
So stay tuned.
Below are some of the details for the different sections:
JAMES RIVER LOWER MAINSTEM (CB Segments LAFMH, EBEMH, SBEMH, ELOPH, ELIMH,
(Flight lines 156, 157A, 157B160, 161, 161A, 161B; flown Aug. 1, Sept. 24;
Quads 137, 138, 139, 140, 141 , 144, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157). There is no observable SAV in this entire region which includes the entire
south shore of the James River and all its tributaries. The only SAV in
this entire region occurs along the north shore from the Monitor Merrimac
Bridge Tunnel to the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, which was reported in our
first update on May 29 (http://www.vims.edu/bio/sav/2007obs.html#vims052907).
JAMES RIVER UPPER MAINSTEM (CB Segments JMSTF, JMSOH, APPTF, CHKOH)
(Flight lines 154A, B, 158A, B, 159A, B, 162, 163, 164; flown Sept. 24,
Oct. 14; Quads 125, 126, 135, 136, 204, 207). SAV is absent along the mainstem James from below the mouth of the
Chickahominy River to Richmond. However, we have again noted SAV in
several creeks but primarily further upstream in each of these small
creeks, e.g. Grays Creek, Herring Creek, Powell Creek, Upper Chippokes
Creek, Wards Creek. Field observations in these creeks in the last few
years have noted hydrilla, coontail and najaids, so hydrilla is right around
the corner from the mainstem!
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER(CB Segment CHKOH)
(Flight lines 155 and 165; flown Aug. 1; Quads 127, 128, 210). The Chickahominy River (mouth to Walkers Dam) continues to hold most of the
SAV in the James River segments. Most beds are now dominated by hydrilla,
although field observations have reported both Najaids and coontail in some
places, especially in the downriver areas. There was a resurgence of Najaid
in the lower river, but the late season high salinities may curtail its
YORK RIVER (CB Segment YRKMH)
(Flight lines 150, 150A, and 153; flown Aug. 1; Quads 120, 121, 129, 130).
No SAV observed in this region.
PAMUNKEY RIVER (CB Segments PMKOH, PMKTF)
(Flight lines 151 and 152; flown Oct 14; Quads 228, 229). SAV is present and very dense from a mile or so below the Pamunkey Indian
Reservation to just above Montague Landing. It is abundant in the many
small marsh creeks entering the system in this region and along all shoal
areas of the main stem river. SAV has increased in the downriver section
around Big Creek where there is a much broader shoal area and has been
generally increasing in the lower areas of this section of the
river. Field observations have noted most beds being dominated by hydrilla.
MATTAPONI RIVER (CB Segments MPNOH, MPNTF)
(Flight lines 148 and 149, flown Oct. 14;Quads 225, 226). SAV beds are
dense primarily in the stretch along the Whitehall area (similar to
previous years) and are nestled within and between much of the emergent
vegetation. Field observations have noted most beds being dominated by
hydrilla but this year found some large areas of dense and mono-specifc
wild celery tucked among the dense hydrilla.
UPPER PIANKATANK RIVER (CB Segment PIAMH)
(Flight line 90A: flown Sept. 24; Quad 116). SAV is once again present in the upper tidal low salinity areas but the
overall abundance is less than 2006. Salinities have been creeping up in
this region due to the dry summer and may be an influencing factor limiting
the downriver distribution. Field observations have noted coontail and
UPPER RAPPAHANOCK RIVER (CB Segments RPPOH, RPPTF)
(Flight lines 142-144 flown Aug. 14, 15, Sept. 13; Oct. 14; Quads 200,
201, 231) The only SAV beds that we are able to discern above Tappahannock are small
fringing beds around Otterburn Marsh, Drakes Marsh, and in a small marsh
just below Otterburn Marsh. Interestingly, we noted a narrow, dense
fringe of SAV along the north shore at Port Royal at the Rt. 301 bridge, as
well as a small creek on the south side just above the bridge. We field
checked these areas and it turns out the beds are dominated by
hydrilla. This is the first time we have noted this species this far
upriver. There is no observable SAV noted in the region from just above the
301 bridge in Port Royal to Fredericksburg.
POTOMAC RIVER (MARYLAND SIDE from the ST MARY'S RIVER to NANJEMOY CREEK)
(CB Segment POTMH, POTOH)
(Flight lines 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74A,120, 119,133; flown Aug. 14,
Sept. 13, Oct. 7; Quads 56, 57, 58, 67, 68, 69, 78, 79, 80, 89, 162) SAV
continues to be abundant in the St Marys River and St Georges
Creek. However, there have been significant changes in SAV abundance in
many areas upriver of the St Mary's. Most of the SAV reported last year in
St Clements and Breton Bay is absent. There is one small bed at the mouth
of St Clements Bay and some remaining beds at the mouth of Breton Bay along
the mainstem Potomac River. There is almost no observable SAV in the
Wicomico River and the Cobb Island area except for some small beds around
Neale Sound, just above Cobb Island. SAV is very reduced in Cuckhold And
Piccowaxen creeks. SAV is present as a narrow fringe along both shorelines
in the Port Tobacco River to the head of the river. However, SAV in Goose Creek,
just down from the Port Tobacco, is very dense. Finally, in
Nanjemoy Creek, SAV was noticeably absent this year in this system- quite a
contrast from previous years. Only a few areas contained some small, but
POTOMAC RIVER (VIRGINIA SIDE from 301 BRIDGE to the MOUTH including the YEOCOMICO
and COAN RIVERS) (CB Segments POTMH, POTOH)
(Flight lines 76, 76A, 76B, 77, 78, 78A, 79, 80; flown Aug. 14, 15; Quads
57, 64, 65, 66, 67, 76, 77, 78, 87, 79, 80, 88, 89, 97). There are no observable SAV beds along the Virginia side from the mouth of
the river to just above the 301 bridge at Mathais Point.
POTOMAC RIVER (MD and VA SHORELINE from POTOMAC and MARYLAND PT to
WASHINGTON, DC (CB Segment POTTF, POTOH, MATTF)
(Flight lines 118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 123A, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128,
129, 130, 131, 132; flown Sept.5, 13, Oct. 7, 15; Quads 28, 29, 34, 39, 40,
47, 48, 55, 56, 64). There is quite a dramatic change of SAV from the low levels of SAV
abundance in the lower to mid sections to dense, continuous stands along
both shorelines from Potomac and Aquia creeks and from just around Wades
Bay up to an area just below the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. This includes
Neabsco, Powells, Chicamuxen, Mattawoman, Broad, Swan, Piscataway,
Pomonkey, and Dogue creeks, Gunston Cove, Belmont and Occoquan
bays. There appear to be small patches of SAV on broad flat just south of
the WW bridge and a larger, dense area north of the WW bridge. Above the
bridge, there appears to be very little SAV, with beds noted next to the
airport and near Roosevelt Island.
PATUXENT RIVER (CB Segments PAXTF, PAXOH, PAXMH, and WBRTF)
(Flight lines 61-65, flown Sept. 12; Quads 41, 49, 59, 60, 61, 70, 71, 159).
In the upper tidal freshwater Patuxent River, SAV continues to thrive on the
narrow shoals first noted in 1994, although the overall abundance appears
slightly less than what was noted in 2006. The only other areas that have
SAV in this river are along the shoal area from Solomans Island to Drum
Point and Broomes Island and just south of Broomes Island (identified as
widgeongrass beds by MD-DNR staff)
RHODE AND WEST RIVERS (CB Segments RHDMH, WSTMH)
(Flight line 58; flown Sept. 12; Quads 30, 35). No SAV was noted this year.
SOUTH RIVER (CB Segment SEVMH)
(Flight lines 57-59; flown Sept. 12; Quads 30, 31). The only observable SAV is along the shoreline from Selby Bay to Limehouse
Cove (field observation reported widgeongrass).
SEVERN RIVER (CB Segment SEVMH)
(Flight lines 55-58; flown Sept. 24; Quads 23, 24, 31).
SAV continues to be very robust in this system and similar to what we have
observed in recent years. SAV beds are most abundant along the shorelines
of the Round Bay area, especially around Sherwood Forest into Little Round Bay,
from Sullivan Cove past Asquith Creek down to Chase Cove. Small, patchy
beds persist at the mouth of Weems Creek and Cove of Cork adjacent to the
Rt 50 bridge. Field reports of Secchi readings showed very good clarity
for most of the summer.
PATAPSCO RIVER AREA (CB Segment PATMH)
(Flight lines 52-53, flown Sept. 4 and 54-56, flown Sept. 23; Quads 12, 13,
18, 19, 24).
There are very few SAV beds in this section this year. In Shallow Creek at
the mouth of the Patapsco River (where Peter Bergstrom has conducted his
transplanting), there is an impressive amount of SAV, but this is it for the
area. The dense beds reported in 2005 in Bear Creek appear to be absent
again this year.
BACK AND MIDDLE RIVERS AREAS (CB Segments BACOH, MIDOH)
(Flight lines 48, 49, 50, 51; flown Sept. 23; Quads 13, 14, 19). There is no observable SAV in the Back River. SAV beds begin adjacent to
Rocky Point Park and continue north into Browns Creek and into the Middle
River where there appears to be some very robust beds.
MAGOTHY RIVER (CB Segment MAGMH)
(Flight lines 55-57; flown Sept. 24; Quads 23, 24). SAV in the Magothy River (home to Peter Bergstrom's numerous and detailed
sightings), remains robust although somewhat less than 2006. The photography
shows SAV beds present along the south shore from just east of the mouth of Deep
Creek to Ulmsteads and South Ferry points. Along the north portion of the
Magothy, SAV beds are most abundant along the west side of Gibson Island,
but are sparser and less abundant in other areas where they have been
normally dense - Magothy Narrows, Inner Harbor, Cornfield Creek, and from
the mouth of Cornfield Creek to Grays Point.
BUSH AND GUNPOWDER RIVERS, ABERDEEN PROVING GROUNDS AND ADJOINING AREAS (CB
Segments CB1TF, BSHOH, GUNOH, CB2OH)
(Flight lines 46-51, flown Sept. 23) (Quads 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15).
Significant beds are found along both shores in both rivers. Many beds in
the Gunpowder are moderate to dense. There are patchy beds throughout the
Bush. There are dense beds in both Romney and Little Romney creeks and in
Spesutie Narrows - areas that have had robust beds in the past. One very
intriguing development has been the appearance of patchy SAV beds along the
east side of Spesutie Island facing the mainstem bay - an area we have not
seen SAV in a very long time. This is a very exposed stretch of shoreline
and the appearance of SAV may have been facilitated by the very large bed
on the Flats.
SUSQUEHANNA FLATS AREA (CB Segment CB1TF)
(Flight lines 42, 43, 44, 44A, 45, 45A; flown Sept. 2, 23; Quads 2, 3, 4). The SAV bed on the Flats is the 'BIG STORY' this year. SAV is incredibly
robust with the beds appearing denser in many areas. How else to describe
them other than pretty phenomenal! And if you have been looking at any of
the MODIS satellite images this summer, that big bed shows up all the
time. SAV remains dense along both shorelines of the Susquehanna River.
SAV is very dense in Furnace Bay and very little SAV is apparent in the
SAV is present but patchy along the Elk neck side of the Flats.
LITTLE CHOPTANK RIVER AND ADJACENT BAYS AND COVES (CB Segment LCHMH)
(Flight lines 16, 16a, 17, 18, 19, 20; flown Sept. 4; Quads 51, 52, 62). SAV is noticeably absent in the Little Choptank, except for a small area
near Hills Point Cove. SAV is present in Trippe and Brannock bays although
it is not as abundant as we have observed in previous years.
CHOPTANK RIVER (CB Segments CHOMH1, CHOMH2, CHOOH)
(Flight lines 19-26; flown Sept. 4, 24; Quads 36, 37, 43, 44). The most
significant SAV beds are located in Cooks Point Cove, the mouth of
Chapel Creek, Irish Creek, and the lower portion of Broad Creek from Deep Neck
Point to Irish Creek. Notable was the appearance of a very dense bed of S.
pectinatus off Irish Creek and some robust SAV beds just north and south of
this bed. There is little else in the rest of the river and adjoining
tributaries, e.g. Harris and Broad creeks.
EASTERN BAY AREA (CB Segment EASMH)
(Flight lines 22-32; flown Aug. 5, 24; Quads 32, 33, 36, 37). SAV is pretty much absent from this area this year except for some beds in
Marshy Creek. There were reports of SAV early in the season, but apparently
died out this summer.
CHESTER RIVER, INCLUDING EASTERN NECK NARROWS AND THE CORSICA RIVER(CB
Segments CB3MH, CHSMH, CHSOH)
(Flight line 33-37; flown Sept. 4; Quads 15, 20, 21). SAV is notably absent from much of this system in 2007. We have gotten
some very detailed field reports from Terry Willis (reports are on our web
site) and his observations support what we are noting from the aerial
flights. There are a few very small areas of SAV around Eastern Neck
Island and the only persistent area of SAV is in Robins Cove, a place where
it has continued to persist almost every year. No SAV was noted in the
MAINSTEM BAY FROM ROCK HALL TO CHURN CREEK (CB Segment CB3MH, CB2OH)
(Flight line 33, 38, 38A; flown Sept.4, 23; Quads 15, 20, 21). SAV beds are absent or rare in most of the creeks facing the mainstem bay
along this region.
SASSAFRAS RIVER (CB Segment SASOH)
(Flight line 39; flown Sept. 2; Quads 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 199) SAV is present along the north shoreline from the mouth to Money Creek and
along the south shoreline from the mouth to Turners Creek. SAV is present
in Lloyd Creek but is not as abundant and dense as in past years. SAV is
densest along the north shoreline closest to the mouth.
ELK AND BOHEMIA RIVERS (CB Segments ELKOH, BOHOH, C&DOH)
(Flight lines 40, 41; flown Sept. 2; Quads 4, 5, 10, 11). SAV is really impressive in these two river systems! Beds cover almost all
the shoal areas from the mouth to the top of the systems and are especially
dense and abundant at the head of the Elk System. Field reports showed many
beds dominated by wild celery.
If you should have any questions for any of the above areas, don't hesitate
to give me a call. We now have an easy ability to send you a 'frame' grab
of an image of a site you may be working in or interested in seeing, so
give a holler.
Finally, we should have the 2007 numbers by the end of February.
We're still finishing up our middle school SAV surveys for 2007. The fall
season has been rather strange in our little piece of the Patuxent. The story here seems to be the
incredible die-back of the Hydrilla in the creek.
For the past couple of years, the Hydrilla had grown to such densities in the
creek by the fall, that there were some sections that were impassable in a
canoe at low tide.
This year, the Hydrilla that the students have collected have been in small
patches and often the only sample collected would be mere scraps of a plant.
The coontail seems to be holding its own and other species are being found on
Oddly, the water appears quite turbid, despite the drought. We took salinity
readings a couple of times in mid-October and as expected, it seemed high,
7.5 ppt. We'd speculated that the higher than normal salinity was inhibiting
the Hydrilla growth and that perhaps the loss of the Hydrilla resulted in
more turbid water conditions....
We'll see what happens in the spring, but in all of the years that we've been
running this program on Cocktown Creek, I've never seen such a scarcity of
SAV as in this season (the exact opposite of what I'd have expected given the
dry year that it's been).
Paul Spadaro just told me he saw floating milfoil on the Magothy a few days ago, on the south shore of Dobbins Island.
12/17/07Peter Bergstrom, NOAA
Severn River and Shallow Creek by air (Quads 019 and 023)
While flying into BWI on 12/14/07, I had a great view of the north shore
of the Severn River (MD, Quad 023) from Chase Creek upriver to Yantz
Creek at about 2:40 PM with good light. Low tide at Brewer Point was
predicted for 2:15 PM. I did ground surveys in this area in 2007 so I
was familiar with what SAV had been there earlier. I saw dark, patchy
signatures in the shallows, that appeared to be SAV, starting outside
Rays Pond and continuing along most of the north shore upriver to
Sullivan Cove; they stopped upriver of Sullivan Cove. These areas had
mainly redhead grass (Ppf) with smaller amounts of widgeon grass (Rm)
when we did transects on September 11, 2007. Thus it seems likely that
what I saw from the plane was redhead grass. I had no camera with me.
The densest redhead grass we found in September, with up to 520 ml of
plant volume from a single grab sample using modified oyster tongs, was
in the bed outside Asquith Creek off Arnold Point. That area did not
have the most extensive dark signatures on 12/14, although it had some
in the center of the shoal area. David Wallace took an aerial photo of
the same bed on 10-15-96 which had a similar but larger dark signature
near the center of that shoal (see scan of it).
I also flew right over Shallow Creek at the mouth of the Patapsco (Quad
019) on the same day, where the wild celery & redhead grass we planted in
2000-2003 was lush this year, expanding from the 0.01 ha we planted to
about 0.8 ha in 2006. None of it was visible on 12/14, however. From
the air it's obvious how close this creek is to the industries in
Baltimore (you can't see most of them from ground level). This makes me
wonder even more, why was the SAV planting so successful there? Most of
the water entering the creek must come from the Bay, not from the
Patapsco, which may be part of the answer.
I received a call from a friend who is a professional guide for fishing and duck hunting on the Flats about two weeks ago. He said the SAV on the Flats is just as widely distributed now as it had been in mid-summer, but that it was 100% milfoil now- and that the milfoil is bright green and getting thicker every week. He said that while the overall plant density is not as great as it had been in the summer, it was still too thick for a boat to move through. He also had some interesting observations regarding the migration of small fishes off the Flats and into the surrounding creeks.
I made it to the Flats this morning, and boated from the Northeast River down to just south of Rocky Point close to the middle of the Flats. Despite the very muddy conditions- resulting from Conowingo opening a lot of their big units- I was amazed at the amount of milfoil I saw. It was absolutely everywhere, and far beyond the density it was during the summer (see photo). Mostly it was less than 25% density, but this is just what I could see as a canopy. I couldn't see more than a few inches in the water. Even with such bad turbidity it was the biggest, most dense bed of milfoil I've ever seen by a long shot. I was just amazed. And of course there were ducks by the thousands (see photo).