N-Control Seagrass Restoration Monitoring Report Monitoring Events 2003-2008 Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Monroe County, Florida

Author:
Alicia A. Farrer, Environmental Specialist II
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Conservation
N-Control Seagrass Restoration Monitoring Report Monitoring Events 2003-2008 Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Monroe County, Florida (568K)
This document presents the results of the monitoring of a repaired seagrass area injured by the N-Control vessel grounding incident of May 29, 2001. This grounding occurred in State of Florida waters within the boundaries of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) and impacted a total of 96.87 m2 of seagrass habitat, predominantly Turtle grass (Thalassia testudinum). Restoration of this site was completed on March 25, 2003 and consisted of forty-four seagrass planting units (Halodule wrightii and Syringodium filiforme) and 39 bird stakes. The monitoring program of the N-Control site was designed to determine whether the restoration effort provided services in a manner consistent with restoration goals, and to monitor the potential need for mid-course corrections. Monitoring consisted of both quantitative and qualitative methods adapted from Fonseca et al "Guidelines for the Conservation and Restoration of Seagrasses in the United States and Adjacent Waters". A total of six monitoring events were conducted over five and a half years. After 64 months (5.5 years) post-restoration, the percent cover of total seagrass in the restored injury increased from 5.6% to 17%. The target species, T. testudinum, increased from 0.5% to 12.1% in the restoration area by the 5.5 year monitoring event. In comparison, the percent cover of T. testudinum was 28.5% in the reference area adjacent to the injury during the 5.5 year monitoring event. This restoration effort accelerated the recovery of the injured area but the injury has yet to reach pre-grounding baseline levels. Research on restoration techniques and natural recovery continues, and will provide valuable information on the practicality and effectiveness of seagrass restoration of vessel grounding injuries.

Keywords: N-Control, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, seagrass, vessel grounding, restoration, monitoring, planting units, bird stakes

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