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Seagrass Restoration Efforts Quick Topics

The Office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas (CAMA) is working with other agencies to find ways to better protect seagrasses and to return them to areas where they have been lost.

One of the major threats to seagrass is propscars. The damage caused by propscars can ten years to heal. Severe or repeated propscarring can completely denude seagrass beds. In St. Martins Marsh in Citrus County, CAMA has partnered with The Nature Conservancy to stabilize and restore propscars with sediment tubes. Sediment tubes accomplish this by returning the scarred areas to ambient elevations, preventing additional erosion and scouring by water currents, and protecting rhizomes from excessive sunlight exposure. The technique involves installing biodegradable fabric tubes filled with sediment into scarred areas that biodegrade in approximately 12 months. Seagrass beds can be fertilized passively to encourage regrowth through bird roosts.

Diver measuring a prop scar

Measuring the depth of a propeller scar helps managers determine the type of restoration best-suited to restore seagrass.

CAMA is experimenting with a variety of replanting methods throughout the state. These projects have been conducted in Charlotte Harbor, Estero Bay, the Indian River Lagoon, Biscayne Bay, the Big Bend, the Florida Keys, St. Joseph Bay and Big Lagoon (near Gulf Islands National Seashore). Results have been mixed and CAMA is continuing to monitor these projects and work with other researchers to find more effective ways to revegetate the bottom.

CAMA is also working with Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to develop a restoration plan for the nation's only marine plant to be listed on the ESA as 'Threatened' - Johnson's seagrass (Halophila johnsonii). With the help of Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resources Management, CAMA has observed Johnson's seagrass outside of its known critical habitat range and has identified several areas in Biscayne Bay as potential restoration sites.

Last updated: November 07, 2016

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