Restoration of Degraded Seagrass Ecosystems Project Demonstrates Success.

Jan 03, 2010, 23:09 ET from The Ocean Foundation

The Ocean Foundation Releases Successful Monitoring Report on Its First Seagrass Restoration Project.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The monitoring report for the first SeaGrass Grow project shows a successful program that is restoring damaged seagrass meadows. This project is designed to restore areas damaged from propeller scars and vessel groundings. Unfortunately these actions by boaters will continue to impact our sensitive seagrass habitat. It is important to act to restore these areas while implementing a broad public communications strategy to ensure that boaters are less likely to impact the area in the future.

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"We are excited to see this very positive momentum and look forward to its successful completion," said The Ocean Foundation President, Mark J. Spalding. "This report clearly demonstrates that the project is working. This is a critical action toward protecting and restoring our important seagrass beds." While the first priority needs to be conservation of existing seagrass, sadly there are many impacted areas that must be restored. Unfortunately, impacts to seagrass beds are often unknown or go unreported. Therefore trying to hold the perpetrators responsible is difficult or impossible. SeaGrass Grow uses charitable donations to restore impacted areas.

The first restoration project occurred at Knights Key Bank in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The project is to restore 4,000 square feet and was funded with a gift from Absolut Vodka. With Absolut's generous support, the needed restoration was mapped, the permit secured, and the sediment tubes laid. Monitoring now confirms that the area is mostly restored. Total restoration typically takes 18 to 24 months. The project is demonstrating success and will likely continue to thrive. Ongoing monitoring will confirm this. It has been estimated that over 30,000 acres of prop scarring exist in Monroe County alone, according to a Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute study completed over a decade ago (F.J. Sergant).

In summary, the monitoring report indicates erosion has been halted and seagrass is re-establishing itself in the restored spaces. The data collected establishes that 91% of the sediment tubes installed have biodegraded across the entire set of scars restored, thus bringing the scarred places back to grade and halting erosion that would have in many instances increased the size of the propeller scars. Many of the restoration areas have reached 50% recovery or greater within 14 months; meaning that half of the entire 4,000 sq ft matches or exceeds the surrounding percent coverage of the meadow. Natural re-colonization is occurring where the expansive species (mostly S. filiforme or commonly called Manatee Grass) is growing into the topographically restored prop scars - a key element of the restoration process.

For the full report, visit

For information about seagrass and the jobs being created, visit

For information about The Ocean Foundation, visit

SOURCE The Ocean Foundation