30 May 2021

East Coast Park with possible dugong feeding trails

There is a shallow lagoon at East Coast Park which has slowly been taken over by seagrasses. Today, I return for the first time in 5 years to find a lovely seagrass meadow teeming with marine life. And saw possibly some dugong feeding trails!
Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis)
We also quickly checked up on Bedok Jetty earlier.

My first time back to this shore since Jun 2016! There is now a long and wide sand bar next to the canal mouth. Which seemed to have formed a calm shallow lagoon for seagrasses and other marine life to thrive.
Living shores of East Coast Park, May 2021
The sand bar is quite wide, nice and sandy (not silty) with lush growths of seagrasses on both sides
Living shores of East Coast Park, May 2021
Towards the high shore, the seagrasses are doing well. In fact, I saw some furrows in the seagrass meadows that might be dugong feeding trails. How exciting!
Possible dugong feeding trails, East Coast Park, May 2021
Dugong feeding trails are formed when dugongs chomp up seagrasses including their roots, leaving a shallow meandering furrow of about equal width and depth. Here's a closer look at the furrow in the seagrass meadow that I saw today.
Possible dugong feeding trails, East Coast Park, May 2021
As on my last survey here in Jun 2016, there were still lush growths of Needle seagrass (both narrow and broad leaf blades) and Spoon seagrass (large leaf blades). For the first time, I saw patches of Serrated ribbon seagrass and a small patch of Noodle seagrass - these two species are not as commonly seen on our shores. We first saw these seagrass patches in Jun 2013.
I was delighted to see many of our favourite seagrass echinoderms here. The most abundant were Tiny red sea cucumbers (which are not babies of bigger sea cucumbers and do not grow any bigger). There were only a few Thorny sea cucumbers and Pink warty sea cucumbers. There were many large White Salmacis sea urchins and Kok Sheng found one with a Zebra crab on it. I saw a few Passion sea urchins and one Black sea urchin. We saw one Common sea star and several Eight armed sea stars. Kok Sheng also saw Knobbly sea stars. While there were many Flat armed brittle stars. There were some small sand dollars too.
I was delighted to see a live Rare-spined murex, which I indeed rarely see alive. There were also Button snails in the sand bar, hunted by the usual predatory moon snails and olive snails. But I didn't see any Fig snails today. There were not many Fan shell clams - most were very small. I saw many shells of dead Window pane clams but no live ones. I did see a small Razor clam and a small Large cockle. The only slug I saw were many Ornate leaf slugs. There were also a lot of Haddon's carpet anemones. Kok Sheng found MORE amazing marinlife including a seahorse.
There is a small rocky area near the seawall of the canal. There wasn't much there. Although there were a few sponges, some Orange sea cucumbers and some small Skinny sea fans with Red spindle cowries on the seawall.
There were some people on the shore harvesting clams. I had a friendly chat with a young couple who let me photograph what they had collected - Fan shell clams (he only dug out the big ones and left the small ones behind, he said). Also lots of 'la la' clams that are found in the sandier parts of the shore. Some people had plastic bags full of 'la la'. There were big holes on some parts of the shore where digging went on.
Earlier, at dawn, we made a quick stop to check out Bedok Jetty. The legs are coated with marine life! We saw sea fans, flowery soft corals with ovulid snails, and other colourful sponges and marine life. Among them live colourful crabs.
We could only look at the first two sets of legs of the jetty. I imagine the many legs of this long jetty must harbour a great deal of life!
Marine life naturally regenerating on Bedok jetty legs at East Coast Park
As we were leaving, a large barrel floated up and started banging against the jetty legs.
Marine life naturally regenerating on Bedok jetty legs at East Coast Park
There is a large worksite right on the beach near Bedok Jetty (off Carpark F1).
Construction at East Coast Park (near carpark F1) May 2021
From the PUB website, it appears to be "Improvement to Bayshore Park Outlet Drain (ECP Service Road to the Sea)" Q2 2020 to Q1 2023.
Construction at East Coast Park (near carpark F1) May 2021

What is the future of these shores?

These living East Coast shores are precious because they may be reclaimed in the 2013 landuse plan by the Ministry of National Development released in response to 2013 Population White Paper.
The blue outlined areas are "Possible Future Reclamation". The plans include massive reclamation along the entire East Coast.
Natural regeneration on Singapore's artificial shores and structures is already happening now. Unintentionally, with zero replanting. Can we plan coastal works to allow reefs, mangroves and seagrasses to naturally regenerate? Naturalise canals leading to the sea for a continuum of freshwater wetlands to mangroves? Imagine what's possible! Reefs and natural marine ecosystems at our doorstep, for all in the City to enjoy. More about this idea in my feedback to the Draft Master Plan 2013.

Others on this survey: Loh Kok Sheng

Other shores surveyed on the same day

Jonathan Tan checked out another East Coast shore

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