Seagrass beds showing signs of recoveryMay 27th, 2014 | Category: AAE Volunteer, MDC News
Marine Discovery Center staff and volunteers recently completed another round of seagrass surveys in the northern part of the Indian River Lagoon. The surveys are in support of St. Johns River Water Management District’s efforts to map and monitor seagrass beds through the entire 156-mile long lagoon. MDC has been surveying 5 sites (of a total 100 throughout the lagoon) since January 2013, although St. Johns River Water Management District has been surveying them for almost 2 decades.
The water management district is reporting signs of recovery at some seagrass beds in the IRL. There is still a long way to go, but we saw similar results at our 5 sites last week. We noted increases in both seagrass coverage and density at multiple sites.
At one site in Canaveral National Seashore, surveyors recorded the presence of seagrass for the first time in over a year. At other sites, patchy beds had filled in more and extended farther from shoreline than previously recorded. Hopefully we’ll continue to see expansion of the seagrass beds, a crucial habitat for many young fish and invertebrates.
In Oak Hill, the seagrass beds were thicker and extended farther than our surveyors had ever seen. In many places, the grass was 2-3 times as long as it was in January and we saw well over a dozen manatees nearby who looked ready to act as “lawnmowers”.
For further information about the seagrass surveys and the St Johns River Water Management District’s work to monitor seagrass in the IRL, check out http://floridaswater.com/itsyourlagoon/seagrasses.html or contact Annie@marinediscoverycenter.org. Photos: Clay Griffis