Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts
This project was funded in FY2012 through the National Fish Habitat Action Plan.
Eelgrass meadows support complex trophic food webs and provide habitat for the forage, shelter and juvenile development of fisheries species. However, this habitat is declining in part due to damage from boating infrastructure. Traditional mooring chains drag on the seafloor, causing direct scour of eelgrass plants and degradation to the quality and function of eelgrass beds through increased turbidity. For this project, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and partners restored 0.2 acres of eelgrass (Zostera marina) by replacing traditional moorings with elastic conservation moorings that minimize impacts to the seafloor by preventing chain drag.
Conservation Moorings in Massachusetts Factsheet
MA DMF Conservation Boat Mooring Recommendations in Eelgrass and Other Sensitive Aquatic Habitats
Please note, the mooring of boats and the establishment of mooring fields in seagrass beds is generally recognized as a significant source of damage to these important ecological communities across their range. As such, the Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership only provided support to specific remediation actions at this and other designated project sites, which address historic damage caused by the scouring effects of traditional chain and block-anchor mooring systems. ACFHP does not support installing conservation moorings in healthy seagrass beds.
Text and photos provided by Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.