Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) is an important component of the Chesapeake Bay eco-system. These plants provide an important source of food for wildlife, serve as habitat for a variety of aquatic creatures, help to provide oxygen in the water and act as a natural filtering system, trapping sediment and removing nutrients from the water. SAV itself is threatened by increasing cloudiness in the water resulting in a decrease in the amount of sunlight that reaches the plants. This increase in cloudiness is a result of excessive soil erosion and increased nutrient levels which result in algae blooms that decrease the clarity of the water.
Since 1994, Calvert County seventh grade students have been assisting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) by monitoring the SAV in Cocktown Creek as a part of a bay-wide study. Students travel up Cocktown Creek in canoes to collect SAV samples and record water quality data from different parts of the creek. The data collected by the students is submitted to the USFWS through a letter written by the students during a post-visit classroom activity.
This data becomes a part of the larger study being conducted throughout the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The data is also of local interest as changes have been documented in Cocktown Creek over the past several years. Through their participation in the CHESPAX SAV Monitoring Project, students satisfy part of their Student Service Learning requirement for graduation.
For more information about King’s Landing Park, please visit their website here: Kings Landing Park | Calvert County, MD – Official Website