"To protect and restore the Florida coastal and Indian River Lagoon ecosystems
through education, research and community stewardship."

Blossoming Restoration Efforts

Jan 12th, 2016 | Category: Blogs, MDC News, Oyster Restoration News, Shoreline Restoration News

blanketflowerDuring a time of fresh starts and new beginnings, the Marine Discovery Center is sharing a gift with our neighbors that will literally blossom into something beautiful. Volunteers are harvesting seeds from drought-tolerant flowering plants from our property that will be planted as part of Living Shorelines and habitat enhancement projects throughout east Central Florida. 

In the summer of 2014, several dozen volunteers planted over 25,000 plants as part of a salt marsh restoration project on the Marine Discovery Center property. This past Fall, many of the new plants bloomed, creating a mosaic of colors along the shoreline. IMG_3238As the weather cools, the blossoms are turning brown and seeds are falling to the ground.

We now have an abundance of seeds for salt-tolerant plants such as sea oxeye daisy (Borrichia frutescens), seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens), and indian blanket flower (Gaillardia pulchella). These species are commonly found along shorelines in east Central Florida, and help stablize the slope from eroding away. The plants also attract pollinators with their colorful flowers. Many shoreline enhancement or restoration projects feature these hardy, low-maintenance species.

Several families gathered recently at the Marine Discovery Center to harvest seeds from our salt-marsh plants, packaging them for later use in restoration and enhancement projects. IMG_3251We carefully collected the seed heads, drying them in paper bags to prevent mold. The seeds will be shared with regional partners who also conduct habitat restoration, such as St. Johns River Water Management District, Brevard Zoo, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and others. Sharing seeds will lower the overall costs of restoration by reducing the amount of vegetation that needs to be purchased for shoreline projects.

IMG_3247To learn more about local habitat enhancement projects, call 386-428-4828 or visit 520 Barracuda Blvd, New Smyrna Beach, Florida to explore the restored salt marsh at the Marine Discovery Center.