It is very clear that submersed aquatic vegetation (SAV) matters to ecosystems and to people, and it is equally clear that there is less of it in most estuaries than there used to be. After decades of declining SAV coverage in the Chesapeake Bay, managers have set not only abundance targets for restoring beds throughout the bay, but also water quality goals in support of SAV restoration (pdf). Aerial surveys of existing beds have also been conducted for decades. A recent analysis of this long-term data set and parallel data on water quality in the bay has concluded that, as expected, long-term trends in SAV acreage at large scales in the bay are related to water quality, and particularly to nitrogen loading. But processes at a variety of scales are also important to maintaining SAV beds.
For more information, e-mail [[davem,Dr. Jane Doe]].