Bethany Beach Beachgrass PlantingPosted: March 27, 2011
My alarm clock went off at 5:30 sharp on Saturday morning. I look around and it was still incredibly dark. Quickly I gathered the gears that I needed for the trip to Bethany Beach and left my dorm. When I arrived at the parking lot Pat and Max had already been waiting in the van. We took off shortly afterwards to our destination- Bethany Beach, Delaware. The sky lit up as we drove through the dawn on I-95, and we arrived after three hours of driving to the beach with volunteers already planting beachgrass.
Pat and Max in the van (b-l-u-r-r-y)
The species of grass we were planting is called Ammophila breviligulata (Although I remembered Pat said a different name), commonly know as American Beachgrass. The beachgrass serves two functions, either to stabilize existing dunes or to build new dunes. I think we’re the latter case because Bethany beach is relatively new and there are pumps out on the sea to pump sand to the beach. Beachgrass stabilize the sand and reduce the damage done when storms strike the cost. When planting beachgrass, each plant needs to be 18 inches apart, and planted in a 8 inch deep hole, two roots per hole. Staggering the rows also ensure a larger coverage. We worked in a team of three (usually a team of two) where two dug holes and one planted the grass. In the processes of digging, I realized that making a 8-inch hole is harder than it seems. Some part of the dune is looser and it’s hard to make a hole when the sand pours back just after you make the hole.
This picture shows the newly planted beachgrass and some original beachgrass that has already grow out.
the stick they provided have a 8-inch mark
this is how it looks after the grass is planted in sand:
Hundreds of volunteers came out to the event and the planting proceeded smoothly. We walked down the boardwalk and planted at a second location. There has been a lack of care and protection of the coastline and surrounding area. Many industrial waste from the north had polluted the marshlands and coastal environment when they travel down the river. In recent years, however, there is an increased awareness of the environment due to the failing oyster industry. It’s good to see that people are starting to care about the environment because we both need the mutual beneficial relationship to survive.