Seagrass Restoration on Galveston Bay
Seagrass bed creation and restoration can help offset loss from dredging, storms, and coastal development. Approximately 70-86% of seagrass in the Galveston Bay system has been lost since the 1980's (The State of the Bay: A Characteristic of the Galveston Bay Ecosystem 1994). Recent experiments involving trial shoalgrass beds indicated that shoalgrass restoration could be an effective tool to offset that loss. In 1993 the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) planted two trial shoalgrass beds at Redfish Cove. In 1994 NMFS and volunteers planted an additional 1,000 m2 shoalgrass bed, and in 1999 NMFS and the Galveston Bay Foundation planted a fourth area of 5,000 m2. All of the planted beds are alive and spreading.... The long-term goal of this project is the re-establishment of functional shoalgrass beds to their former range along western Galveston Island. This goal extends beyond the time frame of the project due to the relatively slow growth rate of shoalgrass and the large area to be revegetated. As part of a collaborative effort, the Galveston Bay Foundation will continue to plant seagrass beds along Galveston Bay and monitor their success while the National Marine Fisheries Service will assess the genetic diversity of planted, volunteer, nursery, and nearby natural shoalgrass beds to better define future planting sources, methods, and expected outcomes. For information on the genetic information of the project please contact Dr. Pete Sheridan at the National Marine Fisheries Service.