Cape Cod National Seashore To Study Seagrass Decline

Scientists at Cape Cod National Seashore will strive to stop the decline of seagrass/NPS

Seven national park sites, including Cape Cod National Seashore, were recently selected for a collective $800,000 in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 to invest in climate restoration and resilience projects over the next decade. The funding will allow National Park Service scientists to study seagrass meadow decline and identify strategies for regrowth in national parks along the East Coast. Cape Cod National Seashore will receive $112,000 of that collective funding.

The project will identify seagrass meadows from Maine to North Carolina with key traits that make them tolerant to climate stressors. These populations will then become donor sources used for future restoration across parks. The project will then identify and map optimal areas for future seagrass restoration, accounting for climate changes and other factors (e.g., light, sediment type, and currents) at Cape Cod, Fire Island, and Assateague Island national seashores. Select locations inside Cape Cod National Seashore include sites in East Harbor in Provincetown, Wellfleet, and Pleasant Bay in Orleans/Chatham.

The local work for this project is being completed by Dr. Alyssa Novak, a coastal ecologist with Boston University. Dr. Novak presented her latest research at the park’s Science in the Seashore Symposium this past fall.

Seagrass meadows are a valuable and biodiverse habitat that serves as nurseries for commercially important fish, reduces coastal erosion, and improves water clarity, and efficiently captures carbon. Eelgrass (Zostera marina), the main seagrass species in eastern national seashores, is declining at an alarming rate, most recently due to increasingly high summer water temperatures.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply
Shopping cart