3 Steffen Point Annapolis, MD 21401 410-263-2102

Submerged Aquatic Vegetation found in Weems Creek

by Corinne Reed-Miller
July 12, 2002

Fresh from my Chesapeake Bay Foundation training in finding and identifying underwater grasses, I took a tour of Weems Creek and found 4 varieties of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) in the creek and around Priests Point into the Severn River. There are samples of each variety below. The horned pondweed is an early Spring grass, and so it was receding an looks very small compared to the other varieties. The rest flourish in the summer.

It was wonderful to see the grasses come back this year, even though we can't claim it's because of the great restoration work we've done. The grasses were abundant because the drought resulted in less stormwater runoff. Less runoff meant less suspended sediment and less nutrient loading in the creek. Therefore, the grasses could receive the sunlight they need to flourish. Although we can't credit our restoration efforts for the return of the grasses this year, their return proves that if we continue to reduce sedimentation and nutrient loading by changing how we manage stormwater, we can have underwater grasses even in non-drought years.

If you want to look for grasses, here are some hints:

  • Look for Natural shoreline. The grasses don't grow where there is bulkhead or rip-rap. The wave action is too strong for them to take hold. (Ironically, if there is natural shoreline, the grasses can take hold, and then they reduce wave action, so they can help control erosion without bulkheading.)
  • Look on the North shore. This shore gets strong southern sunlight, which the grasses need.
  • Look in Shallow water. I found grasses in 2 feet or less of water. Although underwater grasses should grow in 3 - 5 feet of water, we don't have sufficient water clarity at those depths for the grasses.

Redhead Grass in container

Redhead Grass

Eurasian Milfoil in container

Eurasian Milfoil Grass

Widgeon Grass in container

Widgeon Grass

Horned Pondweed in container

Horned Pondweed