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Monitoring Spotlight

Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow - Photo by Andrew Carr
On April 24,2013 Andrew Carr observed and documented a Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow. Considered a rare find with a declining population due to habitat loss, this sparrow depends on marsh and wet prairie habitat in the North to breed and saltmarsh along the gulfcoast to survive the winter.

Project GreenShores is a multi-million dollar habitat restoration and creation project located in Downtown Pensacola along the urban shoreline of Pensacola Bay. This habitat restoration effort partners FDEP's Ecosystem Restoration Section with the City of Pensacola, Escambia County, the Ecosystem Restoration Support Organization, the EPA Gulf of Mexico Program, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA, Gulf Power, local agencies, businesses and volunteers in a community based effort to restore oyster reef, salt marsh and seagrass habitat within the Pensacola Bay System. Restoring the Pensacola Bay estuary to its historic state stabilizes shorelines and provides essential habitat for wildlife propagation and conservation.

Project GreenShores was constructed in phases and consists of two adjacent sites in Pensacola Bay. Site 1 was completed in 2003 and consists of 15 acres of estuarine habitat composed of seven acres of oyster reef and eight acres of salt marsh/seagrass habitat. Site 1 has received several awards including the 2003 Coastal America Partnership Award, the 2004 EPA Gulf of Mexico Program’s Gulf Guardian Award and The Conservation Award from the Francis M. Weston Audubon Society in 2007. DEP Exit Disclaimer Link

In 2003 the first phase at Site 1 of Project Greenshores was completed with minimal re-plantings in the summer of 2004. Seven acres of constructed oyster reef consists of 14,000 tons of Kentucky limestone, 6,000 tons of recycled concrete and 40 wave attenuators. The eight acre salt marsh incorporated 35,000 cubic yards of sand, 40,000 Spartina alterniflora (smooth cordgrass) plants and 3,900 propagated seedlings of the emergent seagrass Ruppia maritima, also known as widgeon grass.

Planting day at Project GreenShores Site 1

Project GreenShores-January 12, 2012


Project GreenShores Site 2 Logo

Project GreenShores Site 2, constructed in the summer of 2007, encompasses the area of Pensacola Bay from the western shore of Muscogee Wharf up to and including Hawkshaw Lagoon. This site consists of two submerged breakwaters of ca. 600’ x 150’x 0.5’ (below Mean Low-Water line) which were constructed using 25,000 cubic yards of recycled concrete obtained from a decommissioned airfield at NAS Pensacola.  The submerged breakwaters will function to reduce fetch driven wave energy before it reaches the inter-tidal marsh islands and shoreline. In time, the breakwaters will also serve as a living oyster reef as oyster larvae settle and grow on the substrate provided. Three inter-tidal marsh islands were constructed using 16,000 cubic yards of spoil material from a previous dredge of the Escambia River.

Planting Day at Project GreenShores Site 2 Project GreenShores Site 2 - January 12, 2012

The islands were planted with 30,000 Spartina alterniflora (smooth cord grass), grown at the DEP Nursery facility, during a substantial community volunteer effort with the help of local Boy Scout, Cub Scout and Girl Scout troops as well as numerous individuals and civic groups in September of 2007. Additional plantings of the salt marsh islands and the shoreline are planned for the early spring of 2008. To establish the seagrass beds at Site 2, plantings of Ruppia maritima (widgeon grass), grown at the DEP seagrass micropropagation laboratory, and Halodule wrightii (shoal grass), obtained from the DEP seagrass salvage program, will occur throughout 2007 and 2008. The seagrass beds will provide habitat for many fish and invertebrate species, help stabilize the Bay bottom thus reducing turbidity, and serve as a nursery area for 70-95% of the commercially harvested species in this region.

For more information, contact: Beth Fugate

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Last updated: October 23, 2015



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