This is in response to Mr. George B. De Marco’s letter about Celeste Dudley’s article on grasses (Readers Write, "Submerged grasses don’t filter bay waters," Jan. 20).
Underwater grasses do, in fact, absorb and use nutrients from the water. SAV beds are considered nitrogen "sinks" because they use and process nutrients in the water and sequester, or store nitrogen, in roots and sediments.
Underwater grasses also help trap and settle sediment out of the water, which improves water clarity, which helps establish more underwater grasses, which remove more nutrients and sediment, etc., etc.
Because of their capacity to absorb nutrients and settle sediments, scientists estimate that if the Bay’s underwater grasses were restored to their historical acreage, the grasses could remove nearly 45 percent of the nitrogen inputs to the upper Bay from watershed and atmospheric sources.
Underwater grasses release oxygen ...
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