Newport Bay Eelgrass Project
Coastkeeper, in partnership with the Back Bay Science Center and the California Department of Fish and Game, have worked since 2008 to protect critical eelgrass habitat in Newport Bay by combining public education with research with the opportunity for long-term restoration.
The First Step: Eelgrass Education
Purpose: To incorporate an aquatic plant and wetland ecology and restoration component to the Back Bay Science Center Education Program, offering hands-on activities for local schools and the community at large.
- Coastkeeper has developed a curriculum based on California Content Standards and Environmental Principles and Concepts targeted for junior and high school Life Science and Biology classes
- Students and teachers at the college, high school and junior high school levels regularly participate in the collection and cultivation of eelgrass at the BBSC, recording of observations of eelgrass growth and survival, identification of species associated with our eelgrass, and monitoring of water quality within the eelgrass trough and tanks.
Eelgrass Field Trips During the 2010-2011 School Year:
- Estancia High School – Mark Cygan (Teacher), 173 Marine Science students
- Santa Ana High School – Sue Grasse and Darryl Killion, 90 Earth Science Students
- Rancho Alamitos HS – Janet Ewell, 40 English as a Second Language (ESL) students
- Rancho Alamitos HS – Michael Loftis, 20 ESL students and Kathleen Andrews, 8 Special Education students
- Godinez HS, Lisa Morgan, Anatomy students
- Stacey Middle School, Tina Dandridge and Dana Faulkner’s 6th grade students
The Second Step: Eelgrass Cultivation & Research
What Have We Learned?
- Eelgrass cultivation is challenging, but possible in UNB
- Students have significantly benefitted from hands-on environmental science experience
- In order to make a larger impact on the community and increase public awareness and concern we need to:
- Expand our existing eelgrass cultivation and research project
- Host educational Newport Bay community events
- Use what we have learned to restore eelgrass habitat in Upper Newport Bay
The Upper Newport Bay Eelgrass Restoration Project
Our ultimate goal of the Eelgrass Project was to involve the public in the restoration and preservation of eelgrass in the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve. After years of research, planning and community outreach, this long-term goal has finally come to fruition. Coastkeeper, in partnership with Coastal Resources Management, Inc. and the Department of Fish and Game, completed the first phase of our pilot eelgrass restoration project in June 2012. Over 40 land-based volunteers and volunteer divers worked over the course of four days to restore this native seagrass to Upper Newport Bay.
This restoration project and our science education achievements would not have been possible without the groundwork laid out through the Newport Bay Eelgrass Project. Coastkeeper is grateful to all funders and partners for making these accomplishments possible!
Generous funding support for Eelgrass Education by:
Next Page: What Is Eelgrass?