by Chris Young
Recently FWRI staff assisted Tampa Bay Watch and Southwest Water Management District staff in harvesting 40,000 Spartina alterniflora plugs from the effluent donor marsh at the Stock Enhancement Research Facility (SERF) in Manatee County. The Spartina plugs were pulled from the muddy marsh substrate, counted 100 plugs into black plastic bags for transport to the Rock Pond Restoration project in Hillsborough County, about one mile north of SERF, and replanted to coastal areas November 14, 2015. This planting follows up similar effort in which 30,100 Spartina plugs were harvested from the marsh and planted at the Rock Pond November 22, 2014. The Rock Pond Restoration encompasses 1,043 acres of coastal habitat, uplands, and palm tree hammocks and is the largest restoration project in the Tampa Bay area. Over the six day harvest period in November, the Spartina plugs averaged 5.1 culms or jointed stem per plug which equals a total planting of 204,000 Spartina to this site. The Rock Pond Restoration Project is one of 91 coastal recipients for Spartina plugs from the donor marsh since 1997. Total Spartina plugs from the SERF marsh is now 1,154,781 plugs and counting.
View an article on tampabay.com about this project.