Eelgrass Habitat Surveys

Latest update October 16, 2018 Started on August 9, 2018
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Monitoring eelgrass using an ROV to track progress of a living shoreline oyster and eelgrass restoration project in Upper Newport Bay. Other uses include mapping eelgrass in MPAs in Orange County.

August 9, 2018
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Preparation
Expedition Background

About Eelgrass:


Seagrass beds provide essential biological benefits to ocean environments, such as the production of oxygen, sediment stabilization, absorption of nutrients and the improvement of water quality. Eelgrass (Zostera marina) is also an important foundation species as it provides habitat and nursery grounds for a number of ecologically and economically important species.

Eelgrass Restoration in Orange County:

Orange County Coastkeeper and partners have been restoring eelgrass in Upper Newport Bay, Newport Beach, California since 2008. The project was originally conceived to fulfill a need for more research and data on effective restoration and management methods for eelgrass in the bay, which had declined in the upper bay due to poor water quality.

Each summer since 2012, Coastkeeper has been joined by partners and hardworking volunteers to bring back more eelgrass to Upper Newport Bay.

Upper Newport Bay Living Shorelines Project:

Coastkeeper, in partnership with California State University Fullerton and California State University Long Beach are conducting a new restoration project which targets the native Olympia oyster, Ostrea lurida, and native eelgrass, Zostera marina, in an innovative integrated approach in Newport Bay. We plan to harness the sediment stabilization characteristics of each to counteract shoreline erosion and provide other critically needed environmental benefits.

Benefits of Living Shorelines:

  • improve water quality by improving natural water filtration
  • provide habitat for diverse assemblages of plants and animals
  • help to increase oxygen levels for fish and other aquatic species
  • return habitat connectivity between terrestrial and subtidal communities

About this Expedition:

As a member of the Orange County Marine Protected Areas Collaborative (OCMPAC) Orange County Coastkeeper seeks to establish a program using a Trident ROV to track eelgrass habitat both in Newport Bay and around marine protected areas in Orange County. Eelgrass has not been extensively surveyed offshore in these areas, and detecting changes in seagrass occurrence and cover using remote underwater video will be very beneficial.

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Excellent! Lots of interesting Eelgrass research going on the platform. Looking forward to following along.

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