"To protect and restore the Florida coastal and Indian River Lagoon ecosystems
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Marsh Celebrates First Year and First Harvest

Sep 14th, 2015 | Category: Blogs, MDC News, Oyster Restoration News, Shoreline Restoration News

IMG_20150911_154826152Exactly 1 year after planting tiny plugs of Spartina alterniflora to start a nursery at the Marine Discovery Center, volunteers gathered this weekend to harvest our very first batch of plants! The Spartina alterniflora, or smooth cordgrass, nursery stretches over several acres of the property and provides an important salt-marsh habitat to dozens of species. Every day, visitors can see wading birds, ospreys, fish, and even IMG_20150911_161111698_HDRmanatees utilizing the new habitat.

On Friday afternoon at low tide, a dozen volunteers used shovels and trowels to harvest 1,700 cordgrass plants for a restoration project in Flagler Beach. The cordgrass nursery, when fully established, will be able to sustainably provide around 50,000 plants each year for other coastal restoration projects in the area. IMG_20150911_155155152

To better understand the impact of a small harvest on our new marsh, volunteers and staff documented plant density prior to removing small sections of plants, and will measure how long it takes for the harvested areas to return to ‘pre-harvest’ density. IMG_20150911_155815052_HDR

The plants were packed in trays and transported up to their new home in North Peninsula State Park. On Saturday morning, the planting crew went to work! Many of these volunteers had helped plant the original marsh last year, so they were excited to share the fruits of their labor with another site. Staff from Brevard Zoo, North Peninsula State Park, and the Friends of Gamble Rogers State Park also assisted with the planting effort.

IMG_20150912_092000172_HDRIn just a few hours, 3,700 new plugs of Spartina alterniflora were placed in a newly restored area along the Intracoastal Waterway. This is one section of a long-term restoration effort in the park that requires several phases. The volunteers were able to visit a 2 year old restoration site, a 6 year old site, and a newer section that is currently being prepared for planting. It was incredible to see how the marsh grows in and takes shape in a few short years!IMG_20150912_091931552

We look forward to sharing more plants from our nursery site to help restore and construct ‘living shorelines’ in the region. We will need a lot of help from the community to make it happen, so stay tuned for additional transplanting events! To learn how vegetation and natural materials can help create a beautiful and productive shoreline, visit floridalivingshorelines.com. IMG_20150912_112137978IMG_20150912_091919317_HDR