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 Region SAV restoration goal by reporting region (acres)
Upper Bay 14,978
Mid Bay 18,436
Lower Bay 35,872
Patuxent River 1,954
Potomac River 21,203
Rappahannock River 2,534
York River 3,304
James River 2,629
Elizabeth River No Grow Zone
Upper Eastern Shore 12,866
Choptank River 13,953
Lower Eastern Shore (Tangier) 57,651
Patapsco-Back Rivers 389
Upper Western Shore 3,661
Lower Western Shore (MD) 1,811
Total 191,241