2010: Project #9006 Bay Grasses in Classes Wetland Nursery Program Tierra Verde, Florida

Project name: Bay Grasses in Classes Wetland Nursery Program

Project number: 9006

Project status: In Progress

Grant Administrator: Gulf of Mexico Foundation (for NOAA)

Grantee: Tampa Bay Watch

Project location: Tierra Verde, Florida

Grant period: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2020

Grant amount: $32,000

Land Ownership: Tarpon Key – US Fish & Wildlife

Terra Ceia – Florida DEP

Lat/Long: Tarpon Key - 27˚, 40.0 N; 82˚, 41.7 W

Terra Ceia - 27˚, 35.6 N; 82˚, 33.5 W

Types of Habitat: Dunes (Fore and Back Dunal Systems)

Project leader: Martha Gruber, Environmental Scientist

Tampa Bay Watch

3000 Pinellas Bayway South

Tierra Verde, FL 33715



Species Benefiting From Restoration:

• Mullet (Mugil cephalus)

• Spotted sea trout (Cynoscion nebulosus)

• Blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus)

• Fiddler crabs (Uca pugnax)

• Marsh crab (Sesarma reticulatum)

• Diamond-backed terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin)

• Shrimp (Palaemon floridanus)

• Great blue heron (Ardea herodias)

• Greenbacked heron (Butorides striatus)

• Black-crowned night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)

• Snowy egret (Egretta thula)


Acres of Habitat To be Restored:

A total of 3 acres will be restored between both sites.


Project Summary:

Tampa Bay Watch’s Bay Grasses In Classes Program (BGIC) provides middle and high school students with an educational resource to learn about ecological and agricultural practices, while enhancing the science-based curriculums at their schools. Students actively participate in restoration activities, and work side by side with scientists to perform wetland restoration in Tampa Bay. The program consists of two phases. Phase I of the program, students maintain and grow Spartina alterniflora in their nurseries. The students are involved with checking salinity and pH, removing algae, and monitoring overall health of the plants. Phase II of the BGIC program is to transplant the nursery-raised grasses at priority coastal restoration sites in Tampa Bay. These sites will include Terra Ceia Aquatic Preserve and Pinellas National Wildlife Refuge.


Project Objectives:

The goal of Tampa Bay Watch’s Bay Grasses in Classes Program (BGIC) is to provide middle and high school students with an educational resource to learn about ecological and agricultural practices enhancing the science-based curriculums at their schools. These nurseries provide hands-on opportunities for students to appreciate and learn about the importance of salt marsh vegetation to the estuarine ecosystem. Another goal of the BGIC Program is to involve youth participating in the program with restoration efforts in the Bay. Tampa Bay Watch strives to inspire students and community members to become stewards of their environments. This task is achieved by engaging them in the restoration of Tampa Bay through hands-on restoration efforts.


On-the-Ground Activities:

Tampa Bay Watch will utilize student volunteers from the Bay Grasses in Classes program and community volunteers to accomplish plantings at Terra Ceia Aquatic Preserve and Tarpon Key in the Pinellas National Wildlife Refuge. Tampa Bay Watch will obtain permission from US Fish and Wildlife to access the island by boat and on land.


Community Involvement:

Tampa Bay Watch’s salt marsh restorations require a significant number of salt marsh grasses and dedicated volunteers to support the regional restoration efforts. Many of the plants and volunteers will come from the BGIC Program that includes 18 active middle and high school nurseries growing salt marsh grasses for coastal restoration programs. Tampa Bay Watch and participating community groups will solicit community volunteers through each respective organization to accomplish the different program requirements. Volunteer solicitation will include membership newsletters, meeting notices, Web sites and media releases