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Patuxent Project
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Map of the PatuxentPlanting

This page provides an in depth illustration of the planting and seed dispersal methods used by the MD-DNR as part of the large scale restoration project in the Patuxent River. A detailed account of seeding at each location is located at the bottom of this page.

Adult Eelgrass Test Plot Planting
The first two years of this project were devoted to site selection, which involved applying existing habitat information to identify general areas suitable for restoration. Included in this process is conducting test plantings at potential sites. In 2003, during the site selection process and again in 2004, 2005 and 2006, test plantings were carried out to ensure that areas identified by the site selection model would support growth of eelgrass. Adult eelgrass plants were acquired from Tangier Sound in 2003, Tangier Sound and Chincoteague Bay in 2004, and Chincoteague Bay in 2005. A small portion of the total plants used in 2004 and all of the plants used in 2006 were raised from seed at the Piney Point Aquaculture Facility. Plants were transplanted into three 1 m2 test plots located adjacent to seed broadcast or seed bag areas. A density of 64 adult plants/m2 was used for each test plot. Bamboo skewers were used to anchor plants in transplant areas.

Seeding techniques:
  • Fall Seed Broadcasting techniques using eelgrass seeds
  • Spring Seed Bag Planting using freshly harvested material
  • Fall Seed Broadcasting
    Once seeds drop from the reproductive shoots (July to early August), they are held at the Piney Point Aquaculture Facility in a 2,500-gallon tank with aeration and daily water replacement flow until they are broadcast in the field before ambient water temperatures drop to 15C, the temperature at which eelgrass seeds begin germination. Seeds were broadcast manually in October 2003 and November 2006 and mechanically in October 2004 and August/November 2005. (View maps of restoration locations for fall seed broadcast details)
     

    2003 & 2006 - Manual Broadcast
    a photo of 2003 - Manual Dispersal
    Seeds broadcast using
    manual seeding

    2004 & 2005 - Mechanical Broadcast
    a photo of 2003 - Mechanical Dispersal
    Seeds were distributed using a specially designed sprayer mounted on the back of the boat in October 2004 and August/November 2005.

    Spring Seed Bag Planting
    The seed bag method employed here, developed by Chris Pickerell, Habitat Restoration Specialist, Cornell Cooperative Extension, involves the deployment of freshly harvested seed material in coarse mesh bags suspended with floats to simulate natural seed dispersal in unvegetated areas. Pickerell, C., Schott, S., Wyllie-Echeverria, S. 2003. Buoy-deployed seeding: A new approach to restoring seagrass using seed. In: Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Propagation Workshop; 2003 September 3-4; Baltimore, MD. http://el.erdc.usace.army.mil/sav/workshop.html

    Seed Bags were deployed in three areas in the Patuxent River in June 2004 at Parrans Hollow, Myrtle Point, and Solomons Island. A total of 1.9 million seeds were dispersed using the seed bag method in June 2004. (See the maps below of restoration locations for spring seed bag details.)

    a photo showing how eelgrass reproductive shoots are packed in floating mesh seed bags another photo showing how eelgrass reproductive shoots are packed in floating mesh seed bags a photo of the mesh seed bags

    Eelgrass reproductive shoots are packed in floating mesh seed bags that allow for seed development and release at restoration sites.

    a photo of seed bags in holding tanks a photo of seed bags a photo of seed bags being planted at a restoration site in the Patuxent River
    Seed bags in holding tanks ready for distribution by boat. Typical seed bag Seed bags being deployed from a boat.

    a graphic showing how eelgrass seed bags are weighted down with cinderblocks and float on the surface.
    Seed bags 'planted' at the Patuxent River restoration sites.  Cinderblock weights keep the bags in one location while floats keep the bag at the surface allowing seeds to settle to the bottom in a similar manner as natural seed dispersal

    Schematic of seedling growth distribution around the seeds bags at restoration sites.
    Schematic of seedling growth distribution around the
    seeds bags at restoration sites.

    Diagram provided by: Chris Pickerell, Habitat Restoration Specialist,
    Cornell Cooperative Extension

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    Eelgrass Seeding Activity on the Patuxent River
    Map detailing seeding activity at each of five Patuxent River restoration locations: Parrans Hollow (PH), Jefferson Patterson Park (JPP), Hungerford Creek (HC), Myrtle Point (MP) and Solomons Island (SI) (2003-2006).

    Click on one restoration location on map or below to view larger individual maps detailing seeding activity at each of the five individual restoration locations.

    Parrans Hollow
    Jefferson Patterson Park
    Hungerford Creek
    Myrtle Point
    Solomons Island

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