Florida

Charlotte Harbor seagrass lost 30 years of recovery in 2 years

Charlotte County

The seagrass in Charlotte Harbor lost 30 years of recovery growth in just two years.

Charlotte Harbor is home to manatee sea turtles and many fish.

The marine life there relies on seagrass in the harbor for food and shelter. The seagrass thrives depending on clean water and sunlight.

Eric Milbrand is Director of the Marine Research Institute of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. “Unless the light fields, clarity, or water is clean and clear, we can lose habitats that are very important to fish and invertebrates,” Milbrandt said.

Scientists in water management districts in southern and southwestern Florida say seagrass in Charlotte Harbor is dying at an alarming rate.

Overall, 23% of seagrass has died on more than 4,500 acres since 2018. Near Ponsdereon Park, 50% of the seagrass is gone.

Nicole Iadevaia is a Research and Outreach Manager for Coastal and Heartland National Estuary Partnership. “Recently, a hurricane irma broke out and the red tide was prolonged, causing very large large algae to bloom,” said Iadevaia.

“You should follow local guidelines and avoid using fertilizer during the rainy season,” says Milbrandt.

“We need to think of seagrass as our underwater backyard. We need to do something at home to attend that backyard as well,” Iadevaia said.

If we do not take care of the underwater backyard, sea creatures will suffer at best or die at worst.

A water management district in southwestern Florida has also found dead seagrass in Lemon Bay. It’s down about 12% since 2018, a loss of nearly 350 acres.

Charlotte Harbor seagrass lost 30 years of recovery in 2 years

Source link Charlotte Harbor seagrass lost 30 years of recovery in 2 years

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