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Scientists search for ways to restore eelgrass in Richardson Bay

Tiburon Estuary and Ocean Science Center biologist Katharyn Boyer, seen working on an eelgrass-planting project near San Rafael, is leading a team of scientists studying whether Richardson Bay eelgrass damaged by anchor-outs will return on its own or need replanting. (Stephanie Kiriakopolos photo)

Scientists at the Estuary & Ocean Science Center at the Romberg Tiburon Campus have begun experiments to determine how best to restore underwater meadows damaged by boats anchored long term in Richardson Bay.

Led by San Francisco State University biology professor Katharyn Boyer, the scientists hope to determine whether eelgrass damaged by ground tackle swinging on the bay floor will recover on its own once boats are removed or must be actively replanted — a project that will take years and could cost taxpayers up to $8 million.

“We want to try to understand, once a boat is off the mooring, will the eelgrass come back in on its own or is it helpful to go in and jumpstart that recovery?” Boyer said.

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