Project Greenshores Habitat Restoration and Monitoring Project, Pensacola Bay System, #MX974850
Implementation of a seagrass monitoring program to determine extent of decline of seagrass populations and development of a management plan for action and implementation. This project involves the restoration of between and 20 acres of saltmarsh along approximately one mile of the Pensacola Bay shoreline.
Project GreenShores is a community-supported oyster, saltmarsh and seagrass habitat restoration project developed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, ERSO, Inc. and local partners to replace estuarine habitat destroyed decades ago. Located along Bayfront Parkway in Pensacola, Florida, it is highly visible to the public. Originally planned as a small shoreline habitat demonstration project, GreenShores attracted the attention of many partners and volunteers and grew to a substantial restoration project. Site I, completed in the fall of 2003, provides 15 acres of restored habitat. Site II, an additional 25 acres, is in the planning and fundraising stages.
The primary objective of Project GreenShores is to create a highly visible, accessible, habitat-rich, educational shoreline restoration project to serve as a restoration model for other disturbed estuarine shorelines. Project GreenShores was constructed by installing over 20,000 tons of limestone rock and clean broken concrete in mounds to create a protective reef approximately 2,000 feet long by about 75 feet wide, resulting in an approximately 3.4-acre oyster reef habitat. Approximately 16 tons of live oysters were moved from the shoreline to the rock mounds, which resulted in large numbers of new oyster spat and barnacles on the rocks. Approximately 35,000 cubic yards of clean sand was pumped between the rock and shoreline to create five individual intertidal areas to approximate the original water depths. About 35,000 Spartina alterniflora, smooth cordgrass plants, were planted on the intertidal areas. Ruppia maritima, widgeon grass, is being planted between these areas to create a 12-acre saltmarsh and seagrass habitat. An unexpected benefit has been an increase in the numbers and diversity of birds, and the project was recently designated as part of the Great Florida Birding Trail.