We have yet to meet a bay, river or estuary on the South Shore that we didn’t want to help protect or restore. As the largest water and science based environmental nonprofit on the South Shore, and the host of the Massachusetts Bays South Shore program, we work through collaborations and partnerships to provide education and scientific support to help our friends and neighbors to protect their coastal rivers, bays and estuaries. Our thinking? A rising tide lifts all boats!

Here are couple of examples of our work beyond the watershed this summer:

Monitoring Eelgrass in Duxbury, Kingston and Plymouth Bays

For the past week Dr. Sara Grady, Mass Bays South Shore Regional Coordinator and Watershed Ecologist for the NSRWA, and our intern Olivia Bourque who is supported by funding from the State’s Division of Marine Fisheries, led a volunteer monitoring effort of eelgrass in the Duxbury, Kingston and Plymouth Bays.

Unfortunately, the bays have experienced severe declines in eelgrass coverage over the last several decades. Eelgrass beds are ecologically important to the health of estuaries by trapping atmospheric carbon, holding sediment in place, and providing food and shelter for a variety of marine organisms. We hope by monitoring the eelgrass in Duxbury, Kingston & Plymouth Bays more closely and understanding what is driving the losses we can help prevent further losses and spearhead some restoration of this critical habitat.

The effort includes 20 volunteers, 2 interns, 5 captains and their boats examining 119 stations in the bays over a 5-7 day period.   Our volunteer citizen scientists are from throughout the South Shore and include teens and adults from Norwell, Scituate, Marshfield and Duxbury. At each station they test the water clarity, take underwater photos, and collect shoots of eelgrass to measure and examine them for epiphytic growth and a wasting disease that is specific to eelgrass.

Stay tuned for our results! If you are interested in doing this next year (or next week!) we would love to hear from you, particularly if you have small whaler or skiff that you can lend to the effort. Please fill out our Eelgrass Volunteer form or Boat Captain form.

Teaching Cohasset Youth about Cohasset Harbor

This summer, as she has every summer, Dr. Sara Grady also provided support to students to conduct research in Cohasset Harbor in partnership with the Cohasset Center for Student Coastal Research.  Sara has provided scientific support for many years to this wonderful organization that engages middle and high school youth in performing environmental research in Cohasset Harbor. As part of this summer’s effort Sara and our interns led about 20 students to collect marine invertebrates from the benthos (or bottom) of Cohasset Harbor. The samples were brought back to the lab at the Center for identification. The data collected will be compared to a similar effort done 5 years ago. This along with other data the youth are collecting informs a report on the State of Cohasset Harbor’s health which helps local decision makers understand how to be better stewards of their coastal resources.