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Sea Grass Monitoring Training

Mark Rodrigue from Parks Victoria demonstrating how to use a quadrant for monitoring seagrass.

On Saturday the 30th of April, Caring for our Bays attended a training session with Parks Victoria on seagrass monitoring at Queenscliff boat ramp. The day involved learning how to use quadrants to monitor seagrass health and ecology.  Mark Rodrigue from Parks Victoria noted the decline in healthy seagrass beds in Swan Bay over the recent years.  There are various issues that affect seagrass health including but not limited to, excess nutrients, epiphytic growth, physical damage such as boat propellers and humans walking on seagrass, algal blooms and habitat removal and reduction.  Mark also stated that there is currently seagrass monitoring at Mud Islands out in the middle of Southern Port Phillip bay, which is difficult to access but no current seagrass monitoring at Swan Bay, which is easily accessed. 
The variety of knowledge of seagrass from all participants was noted as being exceptional, the group included a PHD Student studying seagrass (which is not actually a grass at all, it’s closest relative is a lilly), new park ranger to the area Danielle Rizzo and various other community members interested in monitoring our marine environment.

A healthy seagrass bed in Swan Bay - Image Jarrod Boord

 Seagrass is an incredibly important marine plant, it provides habitat for juvenile fish, invertebrates and various other marine animals.  It is also an important food source for the Black Swan, for which Swan Bay is named after.
The group of 10 people practiced using the quadrants and recording the data. Hopefully this will help us better understand this incredible and precious marine environment that is right on our front doorstep. If you would like to help with this monitoring and meet some new friends, please contact us via the contact page.