Volunteers helped make 2018 Seagrass Survey a success this month

Seagrass meadows have increased 54% over the past three decades

Sarasota Bay Estuary Program volunteers engage in the seagrass survey in 2017. Photo courtesy of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program

More than 100 volunteers took part in the fourth annual 2018 Seagrass Survey, “an event that provided a hands-on opportunity to identify seagrass species and collect data for Sarasota County’s Seagrass Monitoring Program,” Sarasota County has announced.

Aerial mapping studies show that seagrass meadows have increased by 54% since the 1980s, a county news release notes. The recovery of the seagrass can be attributed, in part, to improvements in water quality practices, the release says. Among those has been Sarasota County’s imposition of fertilizer restrictions, beginning June 1 of each year and continuing through the summer rainy season, the release adds.

Organizers of a Seagrass Festival, held after the survey, invited volunteers and members of the public to learn about what they can do to protect seagrass — and the wildlife that depend on it — by participating in wading trips and visiting educational nature exhibits, the release points out.

The Seagrass Survey celebrates Sarasota County’s commitment to protecting its water resources, the release continues. “This citizen science event has become a staple in Sarasota Bay and a unique way to connect community members not only to their native environment, but to one another,” the release adds.