Help Cornell researchers restore native eelgrass beds

(Credit: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County)
(Credit: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County)

Researchers from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County are looking for volunteers willing to spend a day on the water to help restore marine life habitat. 

The not-for-profit’s Marine Meadows Program is hosting a free eelgrass restoration workshop Saturday, Oct. 25 from 1 to 3 p.m. at its Marine Environmental Learning Center, located at 3690 Cedar Beach Road in Southold.

Eelgrass, a type of seagrass — not to be confused with seaweed —serves as essential habitat and spawning grounds for marine species and helps to protect beaches and shorelines from erosion.

Eelgrass acreage has significantly decreased in Peconic Estuary, down an estimated an 80 percent from the 1930’s, according to the state DEC.

While learning about the aquatic vegetation, volunteers will help scientists to weave thousands of live eelgrass shoots into specially designed biodegradable planting discs by hand.

The discs will then be planted in local bays in hopes of restoring the habitat essential to species such as bay scallops, flounder and seahorses.

The initiative is made possible by grand funding from the Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership. To register for the workshop contact Kim Barbour at 631-461-5294 or [email protected].

Additional information is available at marinemeadows.com or by finding the Marine Meadows Program on Facebook.

[email protected]