The Amy H Remley Foundation  
   
     
 

Protecting Seagrasses

Everyone benefits from sea grasses

Seagrass is economically and ecologically valuable to human beings as well as marine life. It is one of the most productive natural communities in the world and is a principal contributor to the marinerefers to sea water, to sediments deposited in sea water, or to animals that live in the sea, as opposed to fresh water. food webThe non-linear relationship between food items which eat each other. Yet, over a period of fifty years, as Florida's population grew more than five-fold, the State's seagrass areas diminished by almost two thirds.

Essentially, healthy seagrass equates directly with more, healthier fish to catch.

How do we harm seagrass?

Being aware of how seagrass can be damaged is the first step in protecting these valuable marine environments.

Why should this be?

Seagrass is fragile and can be inadvertently harmed by human activities in and around the coastal waters of Florida. Seagrasses are underwater flowering plants that live in Florida’s protected bays, lagoons, and other shallow coastal waters. Because they require sunlight to grow, most seagrasses are found in clear shallow waters. These grass-like plants form small patchy beds that develop over many decades into large contiguous beds, known as meadows, which in good quality water with minimal disturbances, grow lush and thick. Food is taken up from the biomassThe total mass of living matter within a given unit of environmental area. through root forms as well as from the water column. We can all use common sense and consideration, and behave sensibly to help protect these valuable underwater plants.

Some simple rules to follow :

  • Be Aware (Use your head)

    If you live near the coast or along a river, be careful when applying fertilizers and pesticidesA chemical that kills, controls, drives away, or modifies the behavior of pests. to your lawn. Use only the amount of fertilizer specified for the product and prefer using a slow release fertilizer. Chemicals not consumed by vegetation run off to do harm elsewhere. Gutters and storm drains transport excess lawn chemicals to the water.

  • Read the Waters

    Wear polarized sunglasses when boating to reduce the surface glare to help you see shallow areas and seagrass beds. Polarized sunglasses can also help you see and avoid manatees and underwater hazards.

  • Know your Boating Signs and Markers

    Operate your boat in marked channels to prevent running aground and damaging your boat and seagrass beds. Know the correct side to stay on when approaching channel markers. Learn the shapes and markings of signs warning boaters of dangerous shallows and areas where boats are prohibited by law.

  • Know your Depth and Draft

    When in doubt about the depth, slow down and idle. If you are leaving a muddy trail behind your boat, you are probably cutting seagrass. Tilt or stop your engine if necessary. If you run aground, pole or walk your boat to deeper water. Never try to motor your way out. This will cause extensive damage to seagrass and may harm your motor. Know the times for your low and high tides.

  • Be on the Lookout

    When your boat is underway, always keep a sharp lookout ahead of you and be aware of your surroundings. This will keep you and your passengers safe, as well as keep seagrass and marine animals out of danger.

  • Be Considerate

    Docks, boathouses, and even boats can block sunlight from reaching the seagrass below. When building or repairing a dock, consider building the dock five feet above the water and using grating rather than planks. Extend the dock to deeper water so your boat does not shade seagrass.

  • Study your Charts

    Use navigational charts, fishing maps, or local boating guides to become familiar with waterways. These nautical charts alert you to shallow areas so you don’t run aground and damage seagrass. Know before you go.

What is being done to protect seagrass?

As Florida has become more urbanized, thousands of acres of seagrass meadowsSeagrass Meadows consist of specialized marine flowering plants which have adapted to the environment near the shore. Some species need to be exposed at low tide or need some fresh water inflow in order to thrive, and some can thrive in a range from fresh to salt water conditions. off the coast have been lost. Scientists use aerial photographs and geographic computer systems to monitor the status of seagrass off Florida. As a result, many efforts are underway to educate residents about the benefits of seagrass and how they can help protect the seagrass meadows.

In Conclusion

Hundreds of marine plants and animals live among seagrass and form a complex and fragile community. Sea turtles and manatees graze upon seagrass. Many types of shrimp, crabs, worms, snails, and small fish spend their entire lives within seagrass meadowsSeagrass Meadows consist of specialized marine flowering plants which have adapted to the environment near the shore. Some species need to be exposed at low tide or need some fresh water inflow in order to thrive, and some can thrive in a range from fresh to salt water conditions.. Larger fish and seabirds visit seagrass meadows to eat these smaller animals.

Seventy percent of Florida’smarine recreational fish depend upon seagrass communities at some time in their lives. Seagrass largely sustains Florida’s thriving recreational and commercial fishing industries.

Seagrass also improves the water quality by stabilizing loose sediment and filtering some pollutantsSomething which contaminates (water, the air, etc.) with harmful or poisonous substances. out of the water. Without seagrass, many areas would be a seascape of unstable shifting sand and mudThe habitat for essential micro-organisms, is as important as water to the health of this planet. Edward S Deevey Jr.

Seagrass communities are an integral part of the web connecting shallow water habitants that link wetlandNatural land-use type that is covered by salt water or fresh water for some time period. This land type can be identified by the presence of particular plant species or characteristic conditions. and mangroveTreed wetlands located on the coastlines in warm tropical climates. communities to hardbottom and coralsmall, colonial, bottom-dwelling, marine animals that secrete external skeletons of calcium carbonate (calcite). The colonies they create with their skeletons can make enormous reef-complexes, such as the Florida Keys, the Australian Great Barrier Reef, and many coral islands in the Pacific Ocean, and other oceans. reefs.

We, the citizens, need to play our part in preserving our seagrass meadows to sustain our fisheries, our quality of life and that of generations to come.

News and Views
News Items

November 30, 2013
On environment, shortsightedness costs Florida big.
Scott Maxwell, Taking Names.
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October 9, 2013
Fuel Cell Today analysis.
The Fuel Cell Industry Review 2013.
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September 25, 2013
Fuel Cell Today analysis.
The Potential for Fuel Cell Prime Power in Japan.
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August 1, 2013
Duke Energy to cancel proposed Levy County nuclear plant.
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May 22, 2013
Fuel Cell Today analysis.
Electrolysers for Renewable Energy Efficiency.
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March 13, 2013
Beyond Electricity: Using Renewables Effectively.
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September 24, 2012
Sewer Systems Legal Filing.
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February 1, 2012
Fuel Cell Today update.
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January 13, 2012
Sewer Agenda.
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December 23, 2011
Scientist: Water account overdrawn.
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Novemver 14, 2011
Submission to the Citrus County Commissioner, 14 November, 2011.
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