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Chesapeake Bay Monitoring

Bay Grasses (Submerged Aquatic Vegetation)

What are Bay Grasses?

Bay grasses or submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) are vascular plants that live underwater and are found through-out Maryland’s tidal and non-tidal waters. Approximately fifteen varieties of bay grasses are typically found in the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding bodies of water. 

Under water view of Bay grasses

Unlike terrestrial plants which have rigid stems and leaves, bay grasses have specialized cells which provide buoyancy in the water environment. Bay grasses serve many important ecological roles such as improving water quality, providing food and shelter for other species as well as stabilizing sediment at the bottom of the water column.

Recent declines in water quality in the Bay caused by excess nutrients and sediment has caused significant losses of bay grass populations. Because of their importance, the restoration.asp restoration of bay grasses in the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays is a priority for the department as well as the other Bay partners.