Volunteers welcome for county’s Seagrass Survey on April 30

Members of the public may register online

Seagrass is seen as a vital component in Sarasota Bay. Image via Wikimedia Commons
Seagrass is seen as a vital component in Sarasota Bay. Image via Wikimedia Commons

Sarasota County staff members are inviting the public to volunteer for a Seagrass Survey on Saturday, April 30, at Ken Thompson Park in Sarasota.

“This fun, family-friendly, hands-on event” will provide the public with an opportunity to learn about seagrass habitat up-close, a news release says. Volunteers will take to the waters in and around Sarasota Bay to count and identify seagrass species in an effort to collect data for the county’s Seagrass Monitoring Program, the release explains.

The survey is open to the public. People with motorized boats and snorkelers who have their own gear “are greatly needed,” the release adds. “Space is limited for kayakers and paddleboarders,” so people are encouraged to sign up to volunteer as soon as possible, the release continues.

“The Seagrass Survey celebrates Sarasota County’s commitment to protecting its water resources and focuses on increasing awareness of the economic and environmental value of seagrass habitat,” the release says.

“Seagrasses are vital to maintaining healthy aquatic ecosystems” as they stabilize shorelines and provide food and shelter to a variety of wildlife, the release explains. Seventy percent of Florida’s fisheries species, including scallops, crabs, shrimp, mackerel and snapper, spend part or all of their lives in seagrass beds, the release points out.

The public is asked to register to volunteer by April 25: http://2016SeagrassSurvey.Eventbrite.com

The event agenda follows:

  • Volunteer sign-in: 7:30 to 8 a.m.
  • On-site volunteer training: 8-9 a.m.
  • Data collection: 9 a.m. to noon.
  • Volunteer lunch: noon to 1 p.m.

Ken Thompson Park is located at 1700 Ken Thompson Parkway in Sarasota.

For more information, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 861-5000, visit www.scgov.net, or email Ashley Melton at amelton@scgov.net.