Aquatic Grasses

Aquatic grasses provide critical habitat to key species and can improve water clarity. Seagrasses are submerged plants found in shallow waters and are a critical part of the water that provide a number of benefits like buffering coastal communities from storms, removing pollution from the water, and providing shelter for animals.

Aquatic grasses, such as Ruppia maritima provide important habitats for fish and other animals.

How is it measured?

Estimates of aquatic grasses cover are derived each year by VIMS using aerial surveys. The aquatic grasses score is determined as the area of aquatic grasses present in each of the 15 reporting regions as a percentage of the restoration goal. Each reporting region is assigned a score representing progress towards the goal.

Threshold Levels

Reporting RegionSAV restoration goal by reporting region (acres)
Upper Bay14,978
Mid Bay18,436
Lower Bay35,872
Patuxent River1,954
Potomac River21,203
Rappahannock River2,534
York River3,304
James River2,629
Elizabeth RiverNo Grow Zone
Upper Eastern Shore12,866
Choptank River13,953
Lower Eastern Shore (Tangier)57,651
Patapsco-Back Rivers389
Upper Western Shore3,661
Lower Western Shore (MD)1,811
Total191,241