BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — Seagrass is making a comeback in the Indian River Lagoon, which could be good news for the struggling waterway.
What You Need To Know
- More seagrass found in shoal within Sebastian Inlet District
- The increase follows die-off in 2012
- Seagrass protects shorelines, feeds manatees, filters sediment in water
- Educating boaters is key to continuing the resurgence
- Discussion on how manatees' habitats are being compromised
The Sebastian Inlet District says its 145-acre shoal found a 6-acre increase in seagrass from 2019-2020.
"It does represent that seagrass may be recovering, specifically in our area," says James Gray of the Sebastian Inlet District. "From the die off in 2012, we are seeing a gradual increase."
In 2008, the district marked off six shallow-water shoals around the inlet with caution signs to try to keep boaters' props from destroying seagrass.
Education and awareness are key, Gray says.
"From 2019-2020 we had no prop scarring recorded,” he says. “Before, we had dozens of them."
Seagrass is a key component to the health of the lagoon.
- Seagrass roots protect shorelines and ward off erosion.
- Just 2.5 acres of seagrass can handle up to 100,000 fish, state statistics indicate.
- Seagrass also is the key food source for manatees, which lately have been dying in alarming numbers in the lagoon.
- Seagrass is good for water quality too, as it catches sediment and harmful nutrients in the water.
Spring Hill's Sue Herron frequently fishes all over the Sunshine State.
On a recent visit to Sebastian Inlet, Herron and her husband learned good news about the area where they cast their lines.
Herron says bring on the fish, and keep up the good work protecting the waterway.
"I'm very impressed with it," Herron says.