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YEAR 2003 - CRP Project #2004 (Gulf of Mexico)

Project #2004
Milton Prop Scar Restoration

Milton, Florida

Project name: #2004 Milton Prop Scar Restoration
Project status: Complete
Grant Administrator: Gulf of Mexico Foundation (for NOAA)
Grantee: Florida Dept of Environmental Protection
Project location: Milton, Florida
Grant period: July 1, 2021 - July 31, 2021 (extended to June 30, 2021)
Grant amount: $43,571
Land Ownership: public
Lat/Long: Site in Ft. Pickens - 30.325' N, 87.327' W
                Site in St. Andrews - 30.135' N, 85.724' W
Types of Habitat: sea grass beds, marsh wetlands and inter-tidal zone
Project leader: Ben Russell and Charlie Jabaly
                        Florida Department of Environmental Protection
                        Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas (CAMA)
                        7255 Hwy. 90 East
                        Milton, FL 32583
                        (850) 983-5359 phone
                        (850) 983-5361 fax

Anticipated Species To Benefit From Restoration:
  • turtle grass, Thallassia testudinum
  • shoal grass, Halodule wrightii
  • juvenile fish and invertebrates

Acres of Habitat To Be Restored:
      800 square meters of sea grass beds (mostly turtle grass)

Project Goals:
  • Repair prop scar damage by transplanting plugs of shoal grass.
  • Anticipate turtle grass to creep in after shoal grass stabilizes scars.
  • Reduce further damage to area through education.
  • Raise public awareness.
  • Transplant shoal grass into scars and install bird stakes for nutrients.
  • Develop testing of methods for use with damaged sea grass beds elsewhere in Northwest Florida.
  • Produce signs and video for educational outreach.
  • Use photography and videography, including aerials
  • Monitor surface area, density, survivors.

Project Description:

The Ft. Pickens and St. Andrews Aquatic Preserves have accumulated prop scars through the years, mainly from recreational boating. Sea grass beds can heal naturally but repeated scarring or strong currents can enlarge the scars, resulting in the loss of a larger patch.

Project will treat some of the damage, gain information on which transplant techniques work best in this area, and get scientifically valid data on donor bed recovery, with all the knowledge to be used in projects to help restore other areas.

The educational component will be designed to make the public more environmentally informed, while boaters will be made aware of the problem and be more likely to exercise care in grassy areas, thereby reducing future damage. In addition to presentations to groups, project leaders will be producing videos -- one 30-minute video to be aired on local TV and one shorter one -- to be played in areas targeting local recreational boaters and tourists who rent watercraft. Signs and/or informational kiosks will be used at local boat ramps.

In the Ft. Pickens Aquatic Preserve, plugs of shoal grass will be transplanted from donor beds to the scarred area. Bird stakes will be utilized to increase available nutrients and so promote growth. In St. Andrews Bay bird stakes will be the primary treatment due to a lack of suitable donor sites. Prop scars showing significant erosion may be filled to grade depending upon availability of suitable fill material.

Photography will be used extensively to keep a visual record of the project. Set camera points will be used for the duration of the project and underwater stills and video will be taken. Aerial photographs will be taken before transplanting begins and after completion of the project, additional funding will be sought after the grant ends to continue aerial photography of the site.

Click on photo to enlarge

    5 photos

    Dec 2003 - 8 photos

    April 2004 - 4 photos

    March 2004 - 4 photos

Seagrass touch tank - click to enlarge
Increasing Public Awareness - Staff provided seagrass touch-tank at the annual Seagrass Awareness Festival in March 2005, as well as a seagrass display showing information and pictures about this project.

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NOAA Restoration Center

Gulf of Mexico Foundation

Northwest Florida Aquatic and Buffer Preserves Office, Fla. DEP

Fort Pickens State Park Aquatic Preserve

St Andrews State Park Aquatic Preserve

Escambia County, Marine Resources Section

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Escambia and Santa Rosa County SeaGrant Marine Extension Agent Programs

Pensacola Bay System Environmental Education Coordination Team (EECT)

Escambia and Santa Rosa County 4-H Programs

US Fish & Wildlife SE Region

Naval Air Station Pensacola

Gulf of Mexico Foundation - PMB 51, 5403 Everhart - Corpus Christi, TX 78411
(800) 884-4175 toll free - (361) 882-3939 phone - (361) 882-1262 fax
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webmaster: Carrie Robertson