Sea & Shoreline Ocean Restoration Completes Seagrass Replanting In Mercabo Cove, Creating A Thriving Habitat For Manatees And Other Marine Life

Yesterday, Sea & Shoreline, one of the foremost aquatic restoration authorities in Florida, announced the completion of a seagrass rehabilitation project in partnership with the Gasparilla Island Conservation & Improvement Association (GICIA) in Boca Grande, Florida.

Sea & Shoreline partnered with the GICIA to create a marine sanctuary using innovative techniques. By planting two acres of seagrass and enclosing the plants within 45 GrowSAV Herbivory Exclusion Devices that will protect the seagrass from herbivory until it can take root, the seagrass-rich Cove will improve water quality, provide a sanctuary for the endangered smalltooth sawfish, manatees, dolphins, turtles, and other sea life.

Mercabo Cove is one of GICIA’s largest projects. The site was once dominated by large buildings, concrete, and expansive seawalls, but since 2016, GICIA has planted over 3,000 native plants and installed rip rap and reef balls to improve the water and the area’s overall aesthetics. As one of the final steps in the project, GICIA wanted to install seagrass to further aid in water quality improvement, sediment stabilization, and nutrient sequestration.

“Seagrass is one of the most productive ecosystems in the world,” said Sea & Shoreline Lead Biologist Ryan Brushwood, in a statement. “It provides a variety of solutions, such as improving water quality, and providing food and shelter for marine life. We are thrilled to be working with the GICIA to transform this industrial site into a conservation habitat.”

“The final step of this restoration project has been the installation of seagrass, which if successful, will increase our efforts to improve habitat and water quality within the Cove,” said Misty Nichols, GICIA Executive Director.

Over the course of the coming year, Sea & Shoreline will continue to be involved in the community by monitoring the success of Mercabo Cove and furthering education efforts on seagrass conservation.

Since its inception in 2014, Sea & Shoreline’s heralded experience with scientifically validated methods of aquatic restoration has proven successful across more than 150 environmental projects.

The company continues to be the industry leader in rehabilitating threatened and corrupted aquatic environments. Other current seagrass restoration projects include those in Crystal River, the Indian River Lagoon, the Homosassa River, and the Caloosahatchee River.

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