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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Eelgrass Restoration

Eelgrass and other habitat restoration projects will be identified and conducted through the New Hampshire Estuaries Program (NHEP) advisory committee including OSP, NHFG, NHDES, and the UNH Jackson Laboratory. Eelgrass is a marine underwater plant that roots in the sediments of our bays and estuaries, forming meadows in coastal waters.

Eelgrass habitat has been impacted by human activities as the population grows along our coastlines. Nutrient loading and direct damage from dredging, boating, and fishing activities all can damage eelgrass. It is estimated that our coastlines have lost over 50% of their eelgrass in the past century. The three-dimensional habitat of a healthy eelgrass meadow supports part of the life cycle of striped bass, flounder, lobsters, mussels, scallops, crabs, ducks, and geese. Eelgrass also contributes to the productivity of coastal waters by stabilizing bottom sediments, filtering nutrients and particles out of water, and by providing sheltered nursery areas for fish and shellfish. Dead eelgrass decomposes and is an essential part of the marine food web.

Completed Projects

  • 1993-4: Five sites (7 acres) of monitoring data collected from the Piscataqua River for five years and 3.4 acres of successful restoration.
  • 2000 North Mill Pond: test planting being monitored.

Projects In Planning

  • Proposed planting of 5.5 acres of Little Harbor as mitigation for a dredging project.

Other Activities

  • New transplanting techniques TERFS tm for volunteer groups without diving capabilities.
  • Site selection methodology.
  • Eelgrass poster available to the public.


  • "An Eelgrass Site Selection Model For Optimum Restoration Success" by Fredrick Short (JEL) link to

NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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