Adaptive Management for Impacts to Eelgrass Habitat in Gloucester Harbor
Author(s)Wilbur, Anthony R.; Wilbur, Brandy M. M.; Colarusso, Phil
The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sea Grant College Program, along with partners, led an effort to create an eelgrass bank, raise awareness of the value of eelgrass habitat, and facilitate transplanting efforts to Boston Harbor in the summer and fall of 2006. A planned impact to eelgrass habitat in Gloucester Harbor warranted efforts to try to save this valuable and declining resource. This unfortunate circumstance was used to educate interested citizens, students and teachers from regional schools, and government employees. Methods to transplant and store eelgrass were researched and tested in attempt to facilitate restoration of the impact area. Two community events were organized at Pavilion Beach to harvest eelgrass from the impact area. These events were attended by a variety of government (city, state, and federal) and non-government employees, along with students and teachers, and attracted much attention of the citizens of Gloucester. Eelgrass was successfully transplanted to Boston Harbor by the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. Harvested eelgrass was also maintained in a hydroponic raft system for three months (October-December) and used to set-up an interpretative display in a flow-through tank at the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center. While the harvested eelgrass was ultimately not transplanted back to the impact corridor, experience in storing eelgrass within hydroponic and tank systems could assist future restoration efforts. By teaming up to save the eelgrass at Pavilion Beach in Gloucester Harbor, project partners demonstrated the advantage of creative, adaptive, and cooperative efforts to manage coastal resources. The project was a learning experience in adaptive management for eelgrass habitat and a success in outreach.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sea Grant College Program
MIT Sea Grant Technical Reports;MITSG 07-11