10 February 2013

Balls! At Berlayar Creek

Golfballs, to be precise. There were lots and LOTS of them all along Berlayar shore.
Andy and I were there to monitor the seagrasses here as part of TeamSeagrass.

The narrow stretch of seagrasses along the eastern edge of the Berlayar Creek boardwalk is still there and doing well. The strip of seagrasses, however, is quite narrow and not very long.
Among the seagrasses were little hermit crabs and snails and also carpet anemones.
There were indeed, still many Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) on the shore. Most of them looked alright. One of them had a little anemone shrimp living on it.
There were some small creatures on the shore including some common snails, a few Fan shells (Pinna sp.), small clumps of the tough Zebra coral (Oulastrea crispata) , and a few sponges. This is, however, a pale shadow of the shore before the boardwalk was built. I saw a lot more on this trip in Apr 2009.
Andy found the shell of a dead Spider conch (Lambis lambis).
Among the Sargassum seaweed there was a clump of eggs probably laid by squids.
Although there were some bare patches of sand and rock, much of the shore had good coverage of Spoon seagrasses (Halophila ovalis).
How nice to come across two clumps of Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) in deeper water.
 The clumps were flowering! These white blossoms are female flowers.
Most of the seaweeds on the shore were tiny Coin green seaweeds, as well as lots of Sargassum seaweeds (Sargassum sp.). But it was nice to see a small clump of Halymenia seaweed (Halymenia sp.).
On the northern edge, there was zero seagrasses and some erosion on the beach.
This is probably due to the strong outfall from the seawall.
All along the shore, golfballs were strewn at the low water mark, with a large cluster at the mid water mark under the boardwalk (at yellow arrow).
Here's a look at the cluster of golf balls under the boardwalk. Andy and I only managed to clear this eastern edge of the boardwalk before our bags of balls were nearly too heavy to carry.
It took a while to drag the balls all the way to the high shore. Here are the bags opposite the Keppel Golf Club whose property lies along Berlayar Creek. There are probably lots more balls all along the Creek.
We didn't have the energy to count the balls, but from this grid with 3 layers of balls, I estimate each bag had about 300 balls. So two bags means 600 balls.
I see almost the same golfball situation on previous trips over the years (Aug 2010, Jul 2010, Feb 2012, Apr 2012). Just four months ago, in Oct 2012, the Toddycats removed more than 200kgs of litter and recorded the different kinds of litter found at Berlayar Creek. There was also my correspondence with Keppel Club in Apr 2012 on this issue. Despite these efforts, there doesn't seem to be an end to problem of golf balls on this shore.

There's lots of other litter too on the shore, including this handphone.
There was also large litter on the shore like this rope and what looks like an anchor. Andy checked the shore near the mangroves and thankfully didn't see any abandoned driftnets. I didn't have much energy after hauling all the balls to check out the rest of the shore.
As usual, during heavy rainfall, there is a 'flood' of brown sediment-laden water rushing out from the land to the sea. You can see the contrast between the brown water near the mainland (yellow arrow), and the blue water surrounding Sentosa. Apparently, this happens all the time but I first noticed this in Dec 2011 and again in Dec 2012.
The water rushing out of Berlayar Creek is the colour of kopi susu. Sedimentation is really bad for marine life as it clogs up delicate feeding and breathing parts, and blocks out the sunlight which many animals depend on, especially animals that harbour symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) which make food from sunlight and share the food with their animal hosts. These include corals.
There are indeed many pressures on this narrow shore. Hopefully, it will recover over time, and Teamseagrass monitoring will help us keep track of the situation. More about volunteering with TeamSeagrass.

Andy posted lots more about the balls on the shore.

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