Seagrass SurveysFeb 11th, 2014 | Category: AAE Volunteer, Blogs, Shoreline Restoration News
We completed another successful round of seagrass surveys over the last two weeks. With a team of VERY HARDY volunteers, we documented the abundance and density of both macroalgae and seagrass as part of an ongoing project by the St. Johns River Management District (SJRWMD). Their efforts to regularly map the seagrass beds throughout the Indian River Lagoon have shed light on the magnitude of loss in seagrass due to recent algal blooms. We are excited to assist with this important scientific endeavor.
On Friday, January 31, seven students from Daytona State College along with their professor and a volunteer boat captain braved the cold and rain to conduct surveys in two sites. The students caught on quickly, and gained (memorable!) field experience. Although the manatees have headed south for warmer water, we saw plenty of dolphins in the area. We also saw evidence of past grazing on the seagrass, as much of the beds in deeper water were trimmed short by hungry sea cows.
The following week, 4 volunteers completed seagrass surveys at 3 sites near Canaveral National Seashore. Although there seemed to be slightly less seagrass overall along the survey transects, we saw some new patches in the area that weren’t there last fall. Spirits were high as the sun peeked through and clear water conditions provided great visibility underwater.
All data from seagrass surveys is sent to SJRWMD. This information, along with identical surveys from 95 other sites, provides clear documentation of seagrass growth and loss throughout the length of the IRL.