In addition to the Overview information provided for Habitats, the Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) Workgroup has described their priorities and progress in a new tab below. Throughout ChesapeakeStat, the descriptors of SAV and bay grasses are used interchangeably. Other important work is being conducted by the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership to restore habitats, including but not limited to restoring wetlands, streams, and oyster reefs. Additional information on these efforts will be included over time.
- Factors Influencing Goals
- Current Efforts and Gaps
- Strategies and Resources
- Performance Assessment
- Case Studies
- Make Your Own Map
Successful restoration of SAV in the Chesapeake Bay is dependent upon improved water clarity conditions. Water clarity improvements are being made by meeting pollutant allocations set by the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, and through the work of the Water Quality and Maintain Healthy Watersheds Goal Implementation Teams. The SAV Workgroup focuses its efforts on planting SAV, where possible, in areas with high potential to benefit other living resources.
Both funding and capacity for bay grass planting will need to be increased dramatically to meet the SAV restoration goal. To date, the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office (NCBO), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Research and Development Center (ERDC), MD, VA, and private foundations have funded almost all of the large scale plantings in the Bay, and no agency has been able to increase funding enough to meet the annual need. NCBO and ERDC have zeroed out funding for large-scale SAV restoration.
Additionally, significant investments in research must be made to improve the body of knowledge surrounding restoration techniques. Specific objectives for restoration and protection research should include:
- Succession. Determine whether success rate increases if a primary colonizing SAV species is planted first, followed by a climax species (e.g., Ruppia followed by Zostera).
- Species diversity. Determine the conditions under which planting multiple species in the same location are likely to increase the chances of plant survival.
- Propagule choice. For species that grow well from two or more types of propagules (such as seeds and whole shoots), determine which propagule choice is the most cost-effective under different conditions, comparing total planting cost to the survival rate.
- Size. Define the ideal size of restoration plots to maximize success.
- Density. Determine at what density SAV should be planted to maximize success and restoration of ecological functions.
- Pattern. Determine whether the spatial arrangement of the plants matters, and whether checkered patterns or homogenous plantings are more successful.
- Exclosures. Determine whether the protection of plantings and of sporadic populations resulting from natural recruitment results in significantly improved survivorship and the spread of individuals in a population.