On the left is what Eel Grass looks like out of the water. If you have ever gone to the beach you probably have seen it laying near the wrack line (just above the high tide line). Once it has dried out it turns black, BUT it has no smell. On the right is a what it looks like in an underwater meadow.
Eel grass is very important to our bays because it provides protective habitat for many juvenile critters. Small fish, blue crabs, sea horses, and even scallops rely on the Eel Grass for habitat, protection, and even food (everybody is somebody's lunch).
So how do we harvest the Eel Grass???? By hand mostly. As you snorkel over an Eel Grass bed you can see the difference between the vegetative shoots (the ones photosynthesizing) that are flat, and dark green, and the reproductive shoots (with the seeds) which are yellow and round and have little white dots in them (the seeds).
As you harvest the reproductive shoots you put them into mesh bags. The bags are taken into shore and placed into large tanks until the ripe seeds fall out and sink to the bottom. They are collected and then taken back out to the bay and broadcast almost like you would do to reseed your lawn.
If you enjoyed this you can see more at http://www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/virginia/volunteer/art27326.html
AND if you are really interested there are at least another 2 weeks of harvesting that YOU!!! can volunteer for. Just go to the web site above and click on the volunteer button under “How You Can Help”. Hope to see you there.