Zostera marina is a seagrass species, commonly known as eelgrass, that is found on both coasts of the United States, as well as in Europe. Unfortunately, Zostera is disappearing all over the place, including right here in New York. This could have devastating impacts on animals that rely on eelgrass as foraging grounds, or, as is the case with scallops, use it as a refuge from predation. This is its story, as seen through the eyes of an aspiring graduate student...

Monday, October 11, 2010

South Shore Estuary Learning Facilitator Program

Or, sSELF for short.  I just recently learned about this program when I attended the New York Marine Science Consortium annual conference.  The idea behind this program is that it gives groups, such as schools, the opportunity to be active stewards by monitoring their local environments.  The south shore estuary system extends from highly impacted water bodies in the west, to less impacted embayments to the east, and encompasses a watershed with a variety of land uses.  The program aims to educate citizens on some of these issues while allowing them to become active in collection of data that helps scientists monitor the estuaries.  The program gives interested groups all the equipment and training they need to get started on the monitoring.  This started back in 2007 and now has 35 different groups that have contributed to 400 different data sets.  In addition to local schools around Long Island, other citizens groups also participate, including the Sierra Club and SPLASH - a group of concerned citizens, started by local fishermen, whose goal is to remove waterfront pollution through both public awareness and individual participation.  It is an interesting program, and I hope to become involved with some local schools getting this established on the East End. 

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