Residents of all ages have been invited to get involved in Marine Meadows, the newest Cornell Cooperative Extension program aimed at restoring eelgrass, a vital habitat for shellfish and finfish, in local bays.
According to the cooperative extension, “Over the last 70 years, eelgrass populations worldwide have declined considerably due to pollution, disturbance and disease.” Pollution prevention activities, along with well-planned restoration efforts, will help to ensure the preservation of this species. Public involvement allows the program to greatly expand its effect.
Hands-on workshops for volunteers have been taking place around the East End, including one on Saturday at the South Fork Natural History Museum in Bridgehampton from 10 a.m. to noon. Participants will weave eelgrass shoots into burlap planting discs, to be planted by program staff in restoration sites within local estuaries. The resulting “marine meadows” will serve as a habitat for many fish species, helping to enhance the health and productivity of South Fork bays.
Saturday’s workshop will be led by Kimberly Barbour, a habitat restoration outreach specialist at the extension’s marine program. Registration, which is requested because of limited space, is free, by calling the museum.