Many environmental pressures such as light and salinity conditions in the water can affect the distribution and abundance of seagrass communities with the CHNEP study area. In recent years, much of the seagrass coverage in the Tidal Caloosahatchee River was lost due in part to alterations to water flows downstream of the Franklin Lock in Lee County.
The Coastal & Heartland National Estuary Partnership (CHNEP) is currently working with its partners to restore the Tidal Caloosahatchee River’s submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) communities. CHNEP was recently awarded a Coastal Partnership Initiative Grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to aid in this endeavor. Planting occurred in June 2018 and monitored occurred on a monthly basis until they were established.
Primary producers: seagrass beds are among the most productive ecosystems and are food for a large number of herbivores including urchins, manatees, and sea turtles.
Sediment stabilizers: seagrass beds efficiently hold sediments in place, preventing resuspension and movement of sediment deposits.
Nutrient processors: seagrass beds absorb and transform nutrients in the marine environment.
Ecosystem Engineers: seagrasses modify their environments to create unique habitats that support biodiversity and commercial fisheries.