It’s no secret that the eelgrass in King’s Bay is plentiful and abundant. Once planted, the baby grass is kept in a Grow SAV Exclusionary Device  for about a year. This insures the roots are established and those eelgrass plants are ready to take on the aquatic world! But what happens before all of that? Where do those baby plants come from?

Growing Eelgrass!

Before the eelgrass plants take a dive into their new home they are cultivated by our contractor Sea & Shoreline in an eelgrass nursery! While seeding is one of eelgrass’ reproductive strategies, our Rockstar and Salty Dog varieties are grown in their nursery mostly through vegetative reproduction.  Taking care of eelgrass is a lot like taking care of terrestrial grass. It requires sunlight, fresh water, nutrients and even mowing!

Eelgrass Nursery

Prepping to Plant

Once the nursery stock is mature, the eelgrass plants are harvested, separated into individual shoots, and carefully packaged into planting units! Instead of going straight to a project, the packaged units are then given several months to become pre-rooted and acclimated to conditions similar to those of King’s Bay. During this process the plants will grow tall, strong, and start to expand.

Eelgrass growth stages

The Final Eelgrass Destination

When it’s time for installation, the planting units are given a final inspection and placed in transportation trays. They usually look quite different by this point! Trays are loaded into a truck and covered to avoid any damage along the way.

Once they arrive on site plants are loaded into mesh bags and planting begins! Our divers take excellent care of the plants during installation making sure to swim slowly and be gentle!

Eelgrass Planting

And this is where our eelgrass journey brings us back to now. Flourishing grass in our successfully restored areas. It’s not without tremendous support that our project is thriving though. Our residents play a massive role in the success of this restoration. Please remember this grass does not grow overnight. As you now know, a lot of time and thoughtful effort goes in to preparing these little eelgrass plants for life in King’s Bay. Minding your anchors and advocating for our mission are some of the most important ways you can help us succeed.

October 2019 - Pilot Project year 4

Photo Credit

 

Save Crystal River Kings Bay