US Army Corps of Engineers | Engineer Research and Development Center | | Environmental Laboratory


    Submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) performs many important ecosystem functions, including wave attenuation and sediment stabilization, water quality improvement, primary production, food web support for secondary consumers, and provision of critical nursery and refuge habitat for fisheries species, as well as for the attachment of epiphytic organisms. Over the last few decades, there have been global declines in SAV abundance that could have widespread deleterious effects on coastal and estuarine ecosystems. Recent improvements in water quality offer the potential for restoration of areas that once supported extensive SAV beds; however, natural re-colonization in some areas has been limited, either by a lack of propagules, or other environmental factors affecting SAV colonization.

    SAV is widely recognized as an aquatic habitat vital to the health of Chesapeake Bay, and its restoration has long been an important goal of the U.S. EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program and its partners. The Chesapeake Bay Program has recently completed a "Strategy to Accelerate the Protection and Restoration of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation in the Chesapeake Bay" ("The Strategy"). The Strategy identified a variety of actions necessary to increase SAV populations in the Bay including the need for well-targeted, large-scale restoration activities. Current SAV acreage in Chesapeake Bay is approximately 85,000-acres. The Chesapeake Bay Program has established a goal of 185,000 acres of SAV baywide by 2010. Even the auspicious goal of planting 1,000 acres by 2008 will provide only small progress toward the baywide 185,000 acre goal. Although restoration methods have substantially improved, SAV planting remains an extremely labor-intensive and costly endeavor, with a variable track record of success. If we are to meet targeted SAV restoration goals, significant investments in research and demonstrations must be made to improve the body of knowledge surrounding restoration techniques, particularly cost-effective means for large-scale restoration. As the research arm of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC) is uniquely positioned to provide both a wide range of scientific and technical expertise related to SAV restoration, as well as program coordination and management from a national perspective.

Updated: May 2016
Comments / Whom to contact

Privacy and Security Notice