Today, aquatic restoration experts Sea & Shoreline and the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida began a series of restoration projects in the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) tributaries to restore meadows of seagrass and submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) that have disappeared due to harmful algal blooms. The projects will help to improve water quality and provide a sustainable food source for starving manatees who are dependent upon this vegetation for survival.
The restoration, which is being funded by the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida and Sea & Shoreline, involves planting, caging, maintaining and monitoring seagrass and SAV plantings in Goat Creek, Turkey Creek, Taylor Creek, Crane Creek, the Sebastian River and the North Fork of the St. Lucie River. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has permitted and is overseeing the projects.
Today, Sea & Shoreline will begin planting Goat Creek and Turkey Creek in Brevard County and will plant the additional locations next spring.
"These tributaries feed the IRL, so they play an important role in helping to restore the IRL to a healthy, sustainable ecosystem," said Sea & Shoreline's Lead Biologist Ryan Brushwood.
As part of its Seagrass Saves Sea Life campaign, Sea & Shoreline has planted over 1 million submerged plants in Florida to help improve Florida's waterways and has completed over 150 restoration projects in locations such as Crystal River, the Caloosahatchee River, Blue Springs State Park, St. Andrew Bay, the IRL and more. The company currently has two demonstration projects in the IRL in the Fort Pierce Inlet State Park and the Banana River. Both projects were funded by the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program.
The Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida is undertaking critical work to protect the Florida manatee and its habitat following two seasons of record-breaking manatee mortalities in the state. "We are excited to partner with Sea & Shoreline and are thankful for our donors who have made these projects possible," said Andrew Walker, President & CEO of the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida.