GTM Research Reserve Marineland Hosts Mangrove Workshop

Sep. 4, 2014

Mangroves

~’Living with Mangroves’ educates residents on mangroves and their regulations~

Today, the GTM Research Reserve’s Coastal Training Program and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Northeast District educated more than 25 people during the free workshop, “Living with Mangroves,” held at the Marineland Field Office.

Janice Price, an environmental specialist with DEP’s Northeast District, informed participants on the state regulations regarding mangroves. David Lubinski, environmental specialist with DEP’s Northeast District, provided information about mangrove identification and their ecological importance. Danny Lippi, a tree preservation specialist with Advanced Tree Care, Inc., instructed attendees on how to properly trim mangroves.

“This type of workshop provides an opportunity to educate residents about mangroves and regulations associated with them,” said Michael Shirley, Ph.D., director of the GTM Research Reserve. “As mangroves spread into our regions, it’s important to know how to trim and alter these protected plants.”

By filtering sediments and nutrients out of upland runoff, mangroves help maintain coastal water quality. Adjacent seagrass beds and coral reefs are dependent on this buffering capacity to maintain the low-nutrient, clear water they require. Mangrove roots also trap sediments and form peat, which stabilizes the shoreline.

The mangrove and saltmarsh ecotone, where mangroves and saltmarsh species coexist, is currently along the Atlantic Coast of Florida between St. Augustine and Cocoa Beach. To the south of Cocoa Beach, mangrove forests dominate and saltmarsh species only occur in small isolated pockets. North of the ecotone, coastal wetlands are dominated by saltmarshes.

The most common mangrove along the northern region of Florida’s coast is Avicennia germinans (black mangrove), but all three species can be found in this ecotone. Further south from St. Augustine, Rhizophora mangle (red mangrove) andLaguncularia racemosa (white mangrove) show up in increasing numbers.

“Mangroves provide beneficial functions that ensure a healthy coastal environment and natural shoreline protection. The Northeast District staff has developed a practical training program that promotes compliance with DEP’s requirements for the alteration and trimming of mangroves,” said Greg Strong, director of DEP’s Northeast District. “Every waterfront homeowner and landscape professional who deals with mangroves should attend this training to become familiar with how to properly maintain them to preserve a valuable natural resource for our state.”

For more information on mangroves, click here.

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