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EPA Conducts Eelgrass Survey in Niantic Bay and other East Coast Embayments

EPA is testing a new method to use satellite remote sensing imagery for mapping eelgrass in Niantic Bay and two other Atlantic seaboard sites this summer. Read about it below:

What is EPA doing?

Why is EPA doing it?

• Eelgrass, a submerged aquatic vegetation, is an important habitat to protect and restore in coastal New England.
• Currently, EPA must rely on dive surveys to generate seagrass data–combining satellite imagery could provide a more cost effective alternative.

How can satellite images measure Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (eelgrass)?

How does it compare to existing monitoring methods?

What are the impacts?

• Generate sufficient information to understand the loss of eelgrass habitat from detrimental impacts and the benefits of nutrient management efforts.
• Provide a consistent, cost effective alternative for local, state, and federal government resource managers to gather seagrass abundance data and manage this valuable resource.
• Advance protection of human health and the natural environment in New England.

This project is being done by the US EPA Office of Research and Development RARE (Regional Applied Research Effort), which responds to the high-priority research needs of Regions and helps support environmental decision-making. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) provide high resolution satellite imagery.


See gallery of photos that have been taken on the eastern Seaboard by EPA scientists. The photo of the diver was taken by Chuck Protzmann and the rest of the underwater photos were taken by Phil Colarusso.


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