May 28, 2015
ORLANDO, Fla – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Central District, in partnership with the Marine Resources Council, recently hosted several mangrove workshops for landscapers, consultants and homeowners. More than 40 participants received training on Florida’s regulations and best management practices for the maintenance of mangroves. The workshops were part of an effort to heighten awareness about the ecological importance of mangroves and proactively help property owners avoid potential compliance issues.
Mangroves are vital to coastal water quality in Florida as they help filter water and remove excess nutrients, sediments and other undesirable pollutants. Mangroves provide food and habitat while serving as nurseries for marine animals, as well as nesting and rookeries for coastal birds such as roseate spoonbills and brown pelicans. Mangrove fringes and forests additionally offer protection of our shorelines — especially during hurricane season.
“Many people are not aware that mangroves play a critical role in Florida’s environment,” said Central District Director Jeff Prather. “These workshops enable the department to provide training to our customers and community, while also increasing compliance rates and environmental protection.”
The free workshops offered information on a variety of topics, including identification of the three mangrove species in Florida, a review of trimming regulations, the ecological and economic importance of mangroves, common non-compliance issues, how to become a professional mangrove trimmer and conditions for determining limits on percentage of shoreline to be trimmed.
Excessive trimming or alteration can kill mangroves. These workshops provided an opportunity for the Central District to offer assistance and information to landscapers and property owners regarding the maintenance of this valuable resource. Working proactively with the regulated community before violations occur is more protective of the environment and also helps increase compliance rates. Healthy mangroves are essential to Florida’s environment and economy, and district staff are dedicated to help preserve them.