PREP Reports & Publications


Eelgrass in the Great Bay Estuary in 2008 was found only in the Great Bay itself and Portsmouth Harbor. In 2008 there was a continued loss of eelgrass biomass in the Estuary. Virtually all the eelgrass in Little Bay and the Piscataqua River has died. Eelgrass in Great Bay itself experienced an increase in distribution from 2007 to 2008, primarily from the re-seeding of bare areas that had been de-vegetated by nuisance algae in previous years. However, Great Bay showed a decrease in eelgrass biomass in 2008. Portsmouth and Little Harbors experienced a slight decrease in both distribution and cover in 2008 with the offshore beds in Portsmouth Harbor showing the greatest loss. Despite the slight increase in eelgrass distribution in Great Bay Estuary due to the increased seed recruitment in Great Bay, the loss of percent cover and biomass in Great Bay and in Portsmouth Harbor again this year (2007 – 2008) indicates the continuing adverse water quality conditions in the Estuary. Overall, the Estuary has lost 66% of its eelgrass biomass since 1996, a continuing and alarming trend of environmental decline.


Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership

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Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership, Durham, NH

Document Type