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

Marsh Planting Begins

Aug 12th, 2014 | Category: Blogs, Indian River Lagoon News, MDC News, Oyster Restoration News, Shoreline Restoration News

DSC_3773Sweat dripped, shovels threw dirt, and 5,000 plants found a new home on Saturday, August 9th. Dozens of volunteers from all over Central Florida gathered for the initial planting of a brand new salt marsh, part of the Mosquito Lagoon Marine Enhancement Initiative where the MDC facility is located. This nearly 5-acre area is being restored to its original state as a tidal salt marsh and will serve as a Spartina nursery, a new kayak launch, a Living Shoreline demonstration area, experimental research and educational access, and more.

DSC_3881Working under a hot Florida sun, volunteers planted several different species according to the elevation and slope at which they are naturally found. Many of the transplants were smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora), some of which will be sustainably harvested within a year to use in local shoreline restoration projects.

The crew finished the day by planting one face of the mountain of dirt accumulating on site, working their way up to the very top. The hill will be utilized as a bird observation platform, and the plants around it will reduce erosion and runoff. Seeing the day’s hard work from the top of the hill, as well as spectacular views of the surrounding mangrove channels and the lighthouse was incredibly rewarding.

There will be 3 more planting Saturdays on Aug 23rd and Sept 6th & 20th  from 9am-1pm at MDC. There will be plants of various sizes, but most are 8-18 inches and easy to handle. The work is moderately strenuous and involves walking in uneven, sandy (sometimes wet) terrain. Participants must be a minimum of 10yrs of age. If you’re interested in participating, please RSVP to Traci@marinediscoverycenter.org. Thanks to all our hard-working volunteers who are helping create this valuable asset to our community!