VIMS Underwater Grass Navy

The Severn River Association has started a volunteer group called the Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Navy to help assist an aerial monitoring program at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. So far, 25 volunteers have signed up to hunt down underwater grass and mark its location using GPS through August.

This image was taken through one of the buckets with a clear bottom, which will allow the volunteers to see underwater grass more clearly.

This image was taken through one of the buckets with a clear bottom, which will allow the volunteers to see underwater grass more clearly.

The Severn River Association received funding from the Chesapeake Bay Program to survey the grasses. They have purchased buckets with clear bottoms, GPS devices, waterproof cameras, phone cases, rakes, and Secchi discs to read water clarity. These materials will be used to record 9 underwater grass beds in the river. The volunteers will measure the location and density of the grasses, water quality, and they’ll identify which species are present.

The data collected by the volunteers will supplement information gathered by VIMS scientists. Researchers use aerial footage of the gross to see where it is and how much of it is there, but they can’t tell which species are growing or any of the environmental conditions near the plant. The volunteer-collected data will help verify the VIMS findings and will continue to add to their years of data.

If you would like to volunteer for the SAV Navy, visit their Facebook page or website.

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