Duxbury, Kingston, and Plymouth Bays have experienced severe declines in eelgrass coverage over the last several decades. Monitoring these changes allows us to assess the health and current status of eelgrass within the embayment and find out what might be driving the losses. We collect this data using a drop camera to measure eelgrass percent cover at 119 sites throughout the bays, on boats captained by volunteers. We also selectively collect and measure eelgrass shoots and assess them for wasting disease and growth of organisms on the eelgrass blade. The data is entered into the iSeaGrass app, which was created in partnership with Mass. Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF).
Four survey days were conducted in 2022 – August 8th, 10th, 15th, and 23rd with only one boat available for each day, resulting in 34 out of 119 stations sampled. This is fewer boat days and stations completed than in previous years. Of these, 14 were valid for making comparisons to previous years (data in map above).
• 11/14 sites had eelgrass
• Of the 11 sites:
• 10 had 1-10% cover of eelgrass
• 1 had 10-30% cover of eelgrass
• 5 sites had new eelgrass
• Of the 3 without eelgrass, eelgrass had been absent in all previous years
See the iSeaGrass storymap with QR code below.