Donna helps break ground for mangrove restoration project
Donna helped break ground February 20th on a remarkable – and badly needed – project: the restoration of a dead mangrove forest along S.R. 92, just west of Goodland.
The project is the result of a citizen-led initiative joined by the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (RBNERR) and it’s parent agencies, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
With green-painted shovels in hand Donna joined DEP South District Director Jon Iglehart; representatives from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida; Robin Lewis, President of Coastal Resources Group and others to start the work. (In the photo, Donna thanks Rookery Bay Director Gary Lytton for his agency's help in the project. Photo by Bill Hughes, Hughes Productions.)
“I feel very privileged to be a part of this restoration because it is so vital to this community,” said Commissioner Donna Fiala, “and I’m thrilled to be able to see this area come back to life thanks to the efforts put forth by so many.”
“Protecting our mangrove forests is vital to the health of both our coastal environments and our state’s economy,” Inglehart said, adding that mangroves provide habitat for many commercially and recreationally important fish and shellfish species. The project will reestablish a historic tidal channel adjacent to the Steven’s Landing community near Marco Island and ultimately restore 64 acres of mangrove forests.
Phase I of the work was funded through private donations and a grant from the US Fish & Wildlife Service grant obtained by Coastal Resources Group, Inc. and RBNERR.
“No single agency or organization has the resources to accomplish this alone,” said Rookery Bay Director Gary Lytton. “We are so pleased to see other players stepping up to assist in this effort.”
For more information on the project and other phases, click here for the Marco Mangroves website.
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve protects 100,000 acres of coastal lands and waters between Naples and Everglades National Park on the Gulf Coast of Florida. It is managed by Florida DEP in cooperation with NOAA. For more information on RBNERR visit rookerybay.org.