Maryland Department of Natural Resources Bay Restoration Photo of seeds and a large blue crab
Potomac Project
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Map of the PotomacSite Selection

Successful large scale restoration efforts require a very specific approach. This page provides a more in depth illustration of the site selection process component of current MD-DNR large scale restoration process in the Potomac River.

The SAV Restoration Targeting Model and results of water quality mapping have been used to identify new eelgrass seeding locations on the Potomac River as well as to monitor the conditions of areas seeded in 2003 and 2004.

The SAV Restoration Targeting Tool, a GIS based targeting model uses five parameters to evaluate the suitability of the habitat to support SAV populations.

Water Quality
Historical Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Coverage
Hydraulic Clam Dredging
The Maryland DNR’s water quality mapping program

1. Spatially intensive water quality monitoring is conducted once per month throughout the eelgrass growing season (March – November) throughout the lower portion of the river utilizing recently developed DATAFLOW systems. Five environmental parameters (water temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity (ntu), and fluorescence (used to estimate chlorophyll a) are collected from a flow-through stream of water collected near the surface of the water column.
a photo showing dataflow equipment
Dataflow Equipment
a Schematic of Dataflow system
Schematic of Dataflow system
2. Temporally intensive habitat assessments are conducted to compliment the monthly water quality mapping. Continuous monitors (YSI 6600 EDS) will be located at each restoration site. Each continuous monitor records water temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen concentration, turbidity (ntu), fluorescence (used to estimate chlorophyll a), pH, and reduction potential every 15 minutes throughout the SAV growing season and all data is downloaded weekly.

Go to Maryland DNR’s Eyes on the Bay website to view water quality data
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a photo showing a continuous monitor being deployed
Continuous monitor being deployed
a photo showing continuous monitoring equipment
Continuous monitoring equipment

a map showing Potomac River Restoration LocationsTest Plots
Once the site selection model has identified an area suitable for bay grass growth test plots are planted at several nearby locations. Test plots are small scale areas that are planted with adult plants prior to large scale reseeding to ensure that an area is indeed capable of sustaining a bay grass population. In addition, test plots allow for more specific determination of target areas for seeding the following growing season.

Test plots locations:

Sage Point (D)
Cherryfield Point (C)
St. George's Island (B)
Piney Point (A)


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Next: Read about eelgrass seed collection

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