Seagrass Restoration

Birds rest on poles above the water
Sticks are placed at areas where seagrass is being restored so that resting birds will "fertilize" their growth. Photo: NOAA

While Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is known for the beautiful coral reefs, it is also home to over a million acres of seagrass habitat. These large seagrass meadows serve as a critical habitat for many commercially and recreationally important fishes, food for many animals including sea turtles and manatees, and help to trap sediment and nutrients that would otherwise harm corals. Because of their extensive root and rhizome system, seagrasses are also an important carbon sink and they are thought to play an important role in buffering coral reefs from the changing chemistry of our oceans (i.e., ocean acidification) that is caused by rampant carbon dioxide.

While the majority of the seagrass restoration undertaken in the sanctuary to date has occurred in response to vessel impacts associated with grounding, our partners at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection are also conducting seagrass restoration in their state parks and aquatic preserves.