Eelgrass

The purpose of this page is to provide a centralized source of eelgrass maps and data in the northeastern United States. Data are compiled from various authoritative sources. Some data products are produced by members of the Northeast Ocean Data Working Group.

The Working Group has made efforts to include all known current and historical spatial datasets depicting eelgrass in the region and to identify additional important eelgrass resources. If you know of additional datasets or resources that should be considered for inclusion on this site, please contact .

Regional Importance of Eelgrass

Inside the Eelgrass bedsEelgrass (Zostera marina) is a flowering underwater plant. Eelgrass habitats are critical components of shallow coastal ecosystems throughout the Northeast region. Eelgrass provides food and shelter for a great variety of commercially and recreationally important fish and shellfish and their prey. Eelgrass beds can help to stabilize shorelines and sediments. However, eelgrass is vulnerable to poor water quality, disease, shading effects from docks and piers, disturbance from boatingtraffic, and the impacts of rising water temperature.

The presence of eelgrass is an important consideration for a variety of coastal and ocean management activities, including ocean and coastal planning, natural resource conservation, and the permitting processes for many types of coastal and ocean uses. Because eelgrass beds change in size and location over time, state government agencies conduct eelgrass surveys on a recurrent basis to map them. To assist with regional planning efforts, Northeast Ocean Data has compiled eelgrass survey data into a single, centralized source.

Updated: Fall 2014

Northeast Ocean Data provides data and maps for the Northeast Ocean Plan.