For the second year in a row, residents in the Sag Harbor area will have the opportunity to participate first-hand in helping to rebuild the eelgrass population throughout the East End bays and estuaries. Eelgrass is a critical component of the local ecosystem that allows marine life to thrive.
On Saturday, September 15 at 3 p.m. the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) will bring its Marine Meadows Program to Joe and Liza Tremblay’s Bay Burger restaurant on the Sag Harbor/Bridgehampton Turnpike.
The program is a community-based, collaborative component of CCE’s overall eelgrass restoration effort, which is funded in part by Suffolk County’s Water Quality Protection and Restoration Program. CCE offers these workshops throughout Long Island, giving residents an opportunity to learn about the importance of eelgrass to the marine ecosystem.
At this weekend’s workshop, participants will weave eelgrass shoots — harvested from healthy donor meadows in local waters — into burlap planting discs. Once assembled, these discs will be planted by SCUBA certified CCE Marine Program staff in restoration sites in local estuaries.
These newly created “marine meadows” will serve as important marine habitat for many species of finfish and shellfish such as striped bass and bay scallops.
To date, CCE and various partners have facilitated 19 workshops in which nearly 500 volunteers have come together to assemble over 52,000 shoots of eelgrass into the planting discs.
“We are thrilled to be able to assist Cornell’s team in restoring our bay’s most critical and most threatened marine habitat,” said Joe Tremblay. “This is an issue that many of our friends and neighbors feel strongly about, and it’s wonderful that we can give them an opportunity to get their hands wet and participate in a restoration.”
CCE will also host a Save Our Seagrass (SOS) fundraising celebration at the South Fork Natural History Museum (SOFO) in Bridgehampton on November 10. That benefit will directly help fund the Marine Meadows Program.
For details call the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Habitat Restoration Outreach Specialist, Kimberly Barbour, at 852-8660, ext. 27 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.