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Grants At Work: St. Lucie Eelgrass Growing Swimmingly

Six months ago, the North Fork of the St. Lucie River became the new site of 540 new eelgrass plants. Six months later, the results are in: our underwater plants are growing swimmingly.

In partnership with FWC, Sea & Shoreline, and Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), our Foundation funded the replanting of crucial vegetation in Indian River Lagoon as part of a larger restoration project encompassing eight replanting sites. Biologists from Sea & Shoreline, alongside CCA volunteers and Foundation staff, embedded the individual plants into the river bottom, lowering large metal cages on top to protect the vulnerable newbies from herbivores like turtles and manatees until they take root.

Sea & Shoreline performed a routine six-month maintenance check on the site on December 19, 2023. Biologists reported water clarity was the best they had seen since installation. The plants had grown to a range of eight to 27 inches, varying by cage. That’s two to seven times their original size! Overall, the plants appear healthy and well established in St. Lucie River.

The report also mentioned that invasive hydrilla (H. verticillata) was not observed within the planting site, which is great news. Hydrilla grows on the surface of the water and can block sunlight from reaching plants on the river bottom.

If you’d like to support seagrass and eelgrass restoration in the state of Florida, donate to our Marine Mammal Fund today.

 

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