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Planting Eelgrass in St. Lucie River

Last week, our Foundation joined FWC, Sea & Shoreline, and the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) for a day of replanting eelgrass in the North Fork of St. Lucie River. This project was also funded in part by Karen and Rob Hale, business leaders and Boston Celtics co-owners, via their generous donation through the Fox Rock Foundation.

FWC and Sea & Shoreline staff accompanied CCA volunteers into the river, which had been tested for conducive water quality prior to the project. In less than two hours 540 plants were embedded into the river bottom, with large metal cages lowered on top. The cages give the plants an opportunity to establish themselves and protect them from herbivores like turtles and manatees. Eventually, the cages will be removed to allow them to expand and provide sustenance for marine life.

The species planted is native Florida eelgrass. Sea & Shoreline harvest the species from Lake Echo and separate them in their nursery into biodegradable pots, allowing them to grow into sturdy grass ready for outplanting.

Seagrass and eelgrass play a crucial role in the ecosystem of Florida’s Indian River Lagoon, of which this site is a part. These underwater plants serve as vital habitats and nurseries for a diverse range of marine species. The dense meadows of seagrass and eelgrass provide shelter, food, and breeding grounds for various fish, invertebrates, turtles, and manatees.

Read more about our restoration efforts here.

 

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