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Got Seagrass? A Citizen Science Survey of NY Seagrass

Introduction to Seagrass Citizen Science

Image of the NYS Seasgrass Management "Save Our Seagrass" logo

NYSDEC would like your help identifying the locations of seagrass (link leaves DEC website) beds in our local waters. This is an opportunity for citizens to contribute to the stewardship of coastal ecosystems that benefits NY communities! Submit sightings of seagrass in our local waters to our digital survey: 'Got Seagrass? A Survey of NY Seagrass' (leaves DEC website)!

'Got Seagrass?' is a web based survey that will work in the browser of both your computer or mobile device. There is also the option of installing Survey123 for ArcGIS (link leaving DEC's website) app on your mobile device (Apple or Andriod), completing the survey offline and submitting it when you are back in range.

Please read over the information below to assist you in filling out the survey:

Eelgrass, Zostera marina (link leaving DEC's website),is a perennial seagrass typically found in NY coastal bays and estuaries. We do have some locations with widgeon grass, Ruppia maritime, an annual which can tolerate lower salinity areas (near creeks for example). Widgeon grass tends to be shorter and have thin branching compared to longer and more thick eelgrass blades.

Eelgrass Widgeon grass

Seagrass in New York can be found in as little as 1 foot of water, often within 2-6 feet of water along the south shore bays, but can be up to 8 feet deep or more, especially toward eastern Long Island; near Gardiner's Bay for example.

Observations can be simple, such as presence of seagrass and location, but more details are welcomed. For example: Is the seagrass area small and patchy or large and dense? Are there things like epiphytes and grazers (links leaving DEC's website) growing on the seagrass?

Pictures can be taken from above the water looking down at the seagrass area, or if you have a waterproof camera, you can take more close up underwater photos of the seagrass (see example images below).

Please do not remove seagrass from the meadow and pull up roots from the seabed when taking photos and making observations.

Views of seagrass from above the water

View of seagrass from above the water View of seagrass from above the water

Views of seagrass from underwater

View of seagrass from underwater View of seagrass from underwater

Reports will get added to a map that shows where observations have been made. Information to better understand seagrass meadow locations and conditions should improve the ability to manage seagrass for conservation.

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