Project name: Dune Restoration – Gulf Islands National Seashore
Project number: 9005
Project status: In Progress
Grant Administrator: Gulf of Mexico Foundation (for NOAA)
Grantee: Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Project location: Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida
Grant period: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2020
Grant amount: $50,000
Land Ownership: National Park Service, Federal - Public
Lat/Long: -87.376; 30.309
Types of Habitat: Dunes (Fore and Back Dunal Systems)
Project leader: Amy Baldwin, Ecosystem Restoration Program Manager
160 Governmental Center
Pensacola, FL 32502
Species Benefiting From Restoration:
• Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)
• Atlantic green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)
• Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
• Kemp’s ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempi)
• Gulf sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi)
• Shoal grass (Halodule wrightii)
• Turtle grass (Thalassia testudinum)
• Manatee grass (Syringodium filiforme)
Acres of Habitat To be Restored:
It is anticipated that 5 acres of dune habitat will be restored.
Gulf Islands National Seashore (GINS) contains some of the last remaining undeveloped barrier island beach dune systems in the Florida panhandle. Deleterious forces, both natural and anthropogenic over the years have significantly altered this system’s ability to recover from natural disturbances such as tropical storm events. Numerous threatened and endangered species, both pelagic and terrestrial, depend upon coastal beach/dune systems for survival, and their successful recovery relies on the conservation, restoration, and management of these critical habitats. In conjunction with NOAA’s mission and goals, this project seeks to enhance the coastal dune systems in an effort to support NOAA living resources and species of concern by restoring 5 acres of degraded dune habitat using native vegetation propagated from local stock found within the GINS perimeter. Our research has worked to develop plant production and beach planting protocols for a diversity of plants including woody vegetation. Monitoring will further determine the most efficient and self-sustaining techniques for dune restoration efforts as several methods will be incorporated into this project. Not only will the project protect the natural resource, but restoration of these dune systems will protect Florida’s economy in terms of the input of tourism and recreation dollars to the State’s economy and through the reduction in storm related damage effects and costs. This project is a portion of an overall goal of 145 acres of dune restoration within Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida
Overall objective is to provide shoreline erosion control for an existing Deer Island project. In addition, the project aims to:
1. Provide suitable substrate for an intertidal oyster reef/create an oyster reef habitat.
2. Inform the public on the importance of the Deer Island Restoration Site (oyster reef habitat and wetland habitat) through presentations at local schools.
3. Get the public involved in protecting their natural resources.
* 30,000 herbaceous and 5,000 woody species of dune vegetation will be installed over 5 acres of dune blowout/over-wash areas, minimally elevated areas on the Gulf and Sound/Lagoon sides of the island, and diversification within existing fore-, secondary and backdunes of Perdido Key Island-Johnson’s Beach (PKI).
* Federally listed TER-S species including Godfrey’s golden aster (Chrypsosis godfreyi), Cruise’s golden aster (Chrysopsis gossypini ssp. cruiseana) and large-leaved jointweed (Polygonella macrophylla) will be propagated and planted in appropriate zones throughout the proposed restoration areas.
* Vegetative stock material will be rooted and propagated within greenhouse facilities at four locations in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties.
* Several schools will incorporate the project into student curricula and students will be involved in some plant propagation to provide a hands-on experience with ecosystem restoration and management.
* Plantings at the restoration sites will occur year-round by both FDEP employees and students.
Education and outreach objectives include:
* Participation through school curricula of local students in plant propagation and restoration at associated greenhouses
* Website development documenting the progress of the project, educational, and volunteer opportunities
* Development of a traveling display about the project for festivals and community events
* Development of curriculum material for students including plant propagation methods for school greenhouses and barrier island ecosystem materials
* Development of educational signage to be placed