June 29, 2015
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Northeast District has hosted several workshops to train participants on Florida’s regulations and best management practices for the maintenance of mangroves. Landscapers, consultants and homeowners throughout Flagler, St. Johns and Levy counties have attended. The Northeast District is eager to offer additional workshops and is asking the public to contact the district about participating in future workshops.
“Working proactively with the community before violations occur is more protective of the environment and also helps increase compliance rates,” said Northeast District Director Greg Strong. “Healthy mangroves are essential to Florida’s environment and economy, and district staff is dedicated to help preserve them.”
Mangroves are vital to Florida’s coastal water quality as they help filter water and remove excess nutrients, sediments and pollutants. Mangroves provide food and habitat, serving as nurseries for marine animals as well as nesting habitat and rookeries for coastal birds such as roseate spoonbills and brown pelicans. Mangrove fringes and forests offer protection of our shorelines — especially during hurricane season.
Workshop topics include identification of Florida’s three mangrove species, 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 provide an opportunity for the Northeast District to offer assistance and information to landscapers and property owners regarding the maintenance of this valuable resource. To participate in future workshops offered in Flagler, St. Johns and Levy Counties, contact Russell.Simpson@dep.state.fl.us.