Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Meadows Program
The Marine Meadows Program, developed in spring of 2011, is the newest component of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Eelgrass Program (www.seagrassli.org). Through this initiative, participants are given the opportunity to learn about the biology and importance of eelgrass while participating in unique hands-on restoration efforts. Thanks to an innovative planting method developed by CCE staff, land-based volunteers can get their hands wet while playing a vital role in creating new eelgrass meadows. These newly created “marine meadows” will serve as important marine habitat for many species of finfish and shellfish. These habitats help enhance the health and productivity of our local bays and serve as important habitat for shellfish such as bay scallops and fin fish such as stripped bass. In the past, this type of work was limited to SCUBA divers and other highly trained Cornell staff, but now everyone from school children to adults can get involved in a meaningful way!
The Marine Meadows Program is the collaborative, community-based component of CCE’s overall eelgrass restoration effort. By offering Marine Meadows Workshops throughout Long Island, CCE is providing an opportunity for community members to learn about the importance of eelgrass while participating in hands-on activities that help further restoration efforts in our region. To date, CCE and various partners have facilitated 20 workshops in which nearly 500 volunteers have come together to assemble over 55,000 shoots of eelgrass into planting discs for use in CCE’s restoration efforts.