New York Natural Heritage Program
Marine Eelgrass Meadow
Marine eelgrass meadow Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County
System: Marine
SubSystem: Marine Subtidal

State Protection: Not Listed
Federal Protection: Not Listed

State Rarity Rank: S3
A State Rarity Rank of S3 means: Typically 21 to 100 occurrences, limited acreage, or miles of stream in New York State.

Global Rarity Rank: G5
A Global Rarity Rank of G5 means: Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.


Did you know?
Seagrass beds are some of the most productive communities on earth. In New York, eelgrass provides critical habitat for a surprising variety of fascinating marine creatures. Seahorses, puffer fish, bay scallops, hard clams, lobster, starfish, flounder, shrimp, hermit crabs, spider crabs, skates, squid, horseshoe crabs, sea turtles, and many more species spend at least part of their lives within these protective marine eelgrass meadows (NYS Seagrass Task Force 2009, Orth 2006).

State Ranking Justification [-]
There are estimated to be over 21,000 acres of eelgrass in New York; there may be as many as 30 extant occurrences of marine eelgrass meadow statewide. The few documented occurrences of this community have good viability and are somewhat protected in the waters adjacent to public or private conservation land. The community is restricted to the ocean surrounding Long Island in the North Atlantic Coast ecoregion; it is found in the Peconic Estuary, Long Island Sound, and the South Shore Estuary. The aerial extent and ecological integrity of this community is very rapidly to severely declining; an estimated 90% of New York's eelgrass meadows have been lost between 1930 and the present. Threats to the community include decreased water quality, increased nutrient inputs, physical disturbance from fishing and shellfishing gear, and harmful algal blooms.

Short-term Trends [-]

Long-term Trends [-]