Groups working together to replant seagrasses in the Caloosahatchee
The Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program and Calusa Waterkeeper are working with partners - including Johnson Engineering and Sea & Shoreline Aquatic Restoration - local residents and volunteers to replant seagrasses in the tidal Caloosahatchee River.
The kick-off event with dignitaries will begin on June 18 at 10 a.m. in Centennial Park in Fort Myers. The event will begin with opening remarks from the major organizations participating in the project, as well as from the dignitaries present including Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen. The remarks will be followed by a 15-minute demonstration on-site plants and exclusion cages that will be used. After, volunteers will leave by boats to go to other actual planting locations.
The project is to restore the Tidal Caloosahatchee River's submerged aquatic vegetation communities. The species planted are Ruppia maritime, commonly known as Ruppia, and Vallisneria Americana, commonly known as tape or eel grass. Aquatic vegetation is an important part of estuarine ecosystems, providing vital reproductive and nursery habitat for fish in addition to food for grazers such as manatees and turtles. They also improve water quality and clarity by removing nutrients and sediment. The Caloosahatchee River has historically supported vast seagrass beds. However, much of the coverage has been lost in recent years due in part to alterations in water flows to the Tidal Caloosahatchee River.