Rookery Bay breaks ground for Marco Island mangrove restoration efforts

David Albers/Staff 
 - Dead mangroves sit in stagnant water along State Road 92 between Goodland and Marco Island on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. The mangroves were slowly killed by the construction of nearby State Road 92 and neighboring residential communities which cut off tidal flow. A mangrove restoration project set to break ground Feb. 22 aims to restore tidal flow to the area by repairing channels and building culverts.

Photo by DAVID ALBERS, Naples Daily News // Buy this photo

David Albers/Staff - Dead mangroves sit in stagnant water along State Road 92 between Goodland and Marco Island on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. The mangroves were slowly killed by the construction of nearby State Road 92 and neighboring residential communities which cut off tidal flow. A mangrove restoration project set to break ground Feb. 22 aims to restore tidal flow to the area by repairing channels and building culverts.

Video from NBC-2

— Healthy mangroves are not merely an environmental issue. They provide crucial habitat and food to support sportfishing, a $4 billion industry in Florida.

That was what speakers stressed Wednesday at a groundbreaking along County Road 92 on Marco Island. About 70 people attended to mark the restoration of a 64-acre tract of mangrove habitat along the road.

Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is coordinating the restoration.

Mangrove expert Roy "Robin" Lewis said all permits for the work have been issued, no small feat for this type of project.

Although actual earth-moving should commence in the next 30 days, Lewis said after the ceremony, the great majority of the approximately $1 million cost has yet to be raised

"We have $235,000, so we need another $765,000," he said, but is confident the money will be forthcoming.

Another possible avenue of funding he mentioned was an expected state settlement with oil giant BP for the Gulf of Mexico spill in 2010.

The building of County Road 92 left the mangroves without the regular flushing by the ebb and flow of the tides, and essentially drowned them in major rain events, notably Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Lewis said.

The goal of the restoration is not to plant mangroves, other than a few for demonstration purposes, Lewis said, but to restore the tidal flow that will allow them to thrive.

"Mother Nature plants mangroves much better than you and me," he said.

Anyone who wants to help with the project can contact Coastal Resources Group, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization, at (352) 546-4842, write a check to CRG at P.O. Box 30, Marco Island, FL 34146, or go online to www.marcomangroves.com.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Stories

Comments » 2

Waterdog writes:

Who is paying for this crap?

GorgonZola writes:

There are far too many self-appointed experts jumping on this bandwagon. Who are they, where do they come from, and what are their credentials? Just because your surname is 'Cousteau' does not mean you have the same expertise and intelligence as your father. Just because you stand up and waste time at city council meetings, enthralled with the sound of your own voice once you get your hands on a microphone, doesn't mean you actually know what you are talking about. We are aware of people who run around on Marco with cameras and shovels, some with dubious reputations for actually destroying mangroves and Indian mounds -- and taking money to do it -- and all of a sudden they are collecting funds to save the mangroves?? We are happy to see Rookery Bay is involved and hope they keep a tight fist on the funds, and keep them out of the hands of the self-righteous speakers with their hand in every city pie at the council meetings.
Leave it to the environmentalists and government entities unless you are qualified. This should not be a fund raiser.

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features