To join a survey team, email email@example.com or call 302-226-8105 ext. 712.
Baygrasses are a vital component of a healthy estuary. They are prime habitat for blue crabs and numerous fish species, sequester carbon, take up nutrients, dampen wave energy, and clear the water column of suspended sediment. Despite their importance, baygrasses have experienced huge declines coastwide, including in the Inland Bays. Monitoring the extent and health of the remaining baygrass beds is an important indicator of bay water quality, and determining the boundaries of existing or new baygrass beds is vital for the protection of these crucial habitats.
This project seeks to locate and map the extent and spatial distribution of baygrass beds, while assessing the overall health of each bed. With this data, we can protect these areas, track their health over time, and prioritize areas for enhancement and restoration.
What’s it like to do a Survey?
To find baygrass beds, we employ drones to locate patches of underwater vegetation quickly, then kayak or wade over these patches searching for baygrasses. If beds are found, measurements such as percent cover, canopy height, and species presence are taken, along with precise GPS location to map the exact boundaries.
Your Help is NEEDED!
If you see baygrasses (Eelgrass or Widgeon Grass) please report their presence and location to us! All we need is a picture of the baygrass, the date you saw it, and a location (GPS preferred but the street address is okay too!). Please send that information to us using the form on this page.
Our primary interest are two species: Eelgrass (Zostera marina) (below to the left), and Widgeon Grass (Ruppia maritima) (below to the right). Check out our species ID guide below to confirm if what you’re seeing is one of these two species.
- Baygrass Identification Guide (PDF)
- Seagrass Mapping Report 2020-2021
- Baygrass Mapping in the Delaware Bays (2022)
- Seagrass Bed Maps 2022 (ZIP file)
Volunteers Needed for this Survey!
If you would like to participate in the survey, contact firstname.lastname@example.org by calling 302-226-8105 ext. 712. Even if the survey is not currently underway, you will be added to the mailing list and receive information prior to the next survey season. The season kicks off in April of each year, then runs from April to June. This survey is weather-dependent and it does not have a set schedule with possible last-minute notices to participants.