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Crystal River overview

Kings Bay Restoration Project

"We’re all on the same page in Citrus County.

I met with Save Crystal River members.

Tremendous job."  

- Wilton Simpson, Florida's

Commissioner of Agriculture

What began as a rotary initiative to clean the waterways eventually evolved into a large scale non-profit group Save Crystal River. Educational efforts, events, and outreach to local community groups championed by Save Crystal River, have brought tremendous awareness to Lyngbya's negative impact on our precious ecosystem. However, only removing the Lyngbya will not solve the problem of improving water quality in Kings Bay. In January 2015, Save Crystal River took large glass containers of the Lyngbya to the Florida Legislature. These members requested funds to start the Kings Bay Restoration Project. The project would be a three part system: Remove the muck, Replant with eelgrass, and Maintain the restoration site. Thankfully, the Florida Legislature agreed that Lyngbya filled springs was an issue to be solved. By June 2015, the Kings Bay Restoration Project was initially funded for $1.6 million from state appropriations from the Florida Legislature. The entire community of Crystal River, FL would like to thank the many people who have put effort into restoring Kings Bay. Come and see the differences in restored and unrestored areas yourself! We would love to have you visit.

Clean

Before the ecosystem can be restored, decades of decay and muck must be removed. Biologists remove the detrital material (muck) and clean down to the natural sandy bottom, which in turn unclogs spring vents and creates a happy environment for planting seagrass.

Healthy eelgrass habitat; creative commons image
Cleaning Crystal River; creative commons image

Plant

Once the sandy bottom is cleared, varieties of seagrass including "Rockstar" and "Salty Dog" are planted with protective cages to help them grow and flourish.  This new seagrass is the primary food source for manatees and other sea life as well as a habitat for many fish, crabs and invertebrates.

Healthy river environment for fish; creative commons image
Planting eelgrass; creative commons image
caged eelgrass; creative commons image

Protect

Planting is not the finish line, but rather a starting point. Biologists return regularly to clean the cages and ensure the grass is growing.  The canals are monitored and maintenance is performed on all of the enclosed and exposed seagrass (or as it is scientifically referred to "Submerged Aquatic Vegetation - SAV.")

growing eelgrass; creative commons image

What is the Kings Bay Restoration project?

Kings  Bay Restoration Project Phases 1-4

Phases 1-4 Kings Bay Restoration; Photo: Sea & Shoreline

Kings  Bay Restoration Project Phases 5-7

Kings Bay Restoration Phases 5-7; Photo: Sea & Shoreline
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