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Partnerships for Successful Coastal Restoration

James Harvey 1, Barbara Ruth 2, Cary Levins 2, and Frank Blanchard 3

1 Boy Scouts of America, Troop 106, Navarre, Florida
2 Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Pensacola, Florida
3 Depart of Defense, Pensacola Naval Air Station, Department of Natural
Resources, Pensacola Florida

Erosion of coastal areas is a widespread problem on the Gulf of Mexico coast. It causes a variety of water quality problems as well as loss of habitat. Maintaining or re-vegetating a buffer zone of natural vegetation along the shoreline is a traditional approach to shoreline preservation. The presence of aquatic vegetation stabilizes shorelines, reduces erosion and helps to prevent non-point source runoff of pollutants. It also filters water and provides a habitat for shellfish, juvenile fish and birds. Through cooperation of the Pensacola Naval Air Station's Natural Resources Department, an eroded shoreline area was selected for a re-vegetation attempt. The shoreline borders environmentally sensitive Bayou Grande, a brackish water bay that connects to the Gulf of Mexico and received runoff from a picnic and recreation area. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Ecosystem Restoration Section grows native aquatic plants for re-vegetation projects. Spartina alterniflora, or smooth cordgrass, was selected based on the need for a salt-tolerant native aquatic plant that grows and propagates well at or below the mean low water zone. Boy Scouts from Troop 106 of Navarre, Florida planned the re-vegetation effort and planted over 1,200 Spartina alterniflora plants on the shoreline. Plants were placed every one foot on center, several inches deep, and staggered. Subsequent inspections at six month intervals have shown that plants propagated well and the shoreline has not eroded further. This type of collaborative effort demonstrates the importance of state, federal, and private organizations working together to solve environmental problems that affect everyone.

Keywords: Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Naval Air Station, Boy Scouts of America, restoration, erosion, partnership, Spartina.

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