Our June 2010 transplants will mark the 10th year of eelgrass restoration in Narragansett Bay conducted by Save The Bay's Habitat Restoration Program. Want to help?

After 10 years of transplanting eelgrass in the mid and southern portion of Narragansett Bay, Save The Bay staff and volunteers have established eelgrass beds at all suitable locations -- places where test plots survived and thrived. The numerous test plots planted north of Prudence Island have not been successful, with water quality as the likely culprit. Greenwich Bay is an example of an upper Bay location with ideal bathymetry and, historically home to acres and acres of eelgrass, but where nutrient pollution has led to poor water quality. Test plots planted here generally survive less than 2 months. 

What's next? 

Restoration History

Save The Bay began a Bay-wide eelgrass restoration program in 2001, conducting 20 test transplants throughout the Bay. Test transplants consist of planting approximately 200 shoots at a site to determine if that location can support eelgrass growth. Based on the survival rates of these test plots, we can determine if a site is suitable for a larger-scale transplant. Save The Bay continues to conduct 10-15 test transplants a year to explore future transplant sites and to monitoring changes in water quality over time. As water quality improves in the Bay, we can expect better success at these test transplant sites.

The first large scale transplants were conducted in 2002. Currently we plant approximately 110,000 shoots per year divided among 3 different sites.  Learn about our restoration techniques.

2009 Season Results

With the help of 163 volunteers, we planted 60,000 shoots in spring and another 60,000 shoots in the fall. The three sites where we transplanted eelgrass are Prudence Island, Coggeshall Point in Portsmouth and Hog Island in Portsmouth.

Our superstar this year was Hog Island with an incredible 76% survival rate! Prudence Island had a more difficult year with only 37% survival. It's likely the heavy June rains had an impact on this deeper site. Stay tuned for more infomation about this summer's impact on our eelgrass beds. (Coggeshall Point was a fall-only transplant so survival data will not be available until next year.) View restoration site descriptions and see more transplant results from 2002-2008. 


Do you have questions about out eelgrass program? Contact Maria at mmartinez@savebay.org or 401-272-3540, x142.