History of Sea & Shoreline
Sea & Shoreline got its start when founder Jim Anderson noticed a change in the health of his favorite fishing spot. Anderson thought that restoring sea grass in the area would improve the overall health of the ecosystem. That thought grew into “Sea & Shoreline” and since its inception the company has successfully restored numerous rivers, lakes, lagoons, and estuaries along with establishing advanced technologies which help to ensure the lasting success of their restoration projects.
Crystal River and Kings Bay
Some of Sea & Shoreline’s key restoration work has taken place in the Crystal River, located in Citrus County, Florida. Crystal River is a vital connection of the Florida Wildlife Corridor that plays a meaningful ecological part inside the Corridor. The Crystal River has faced multiple issues over the years, such as the invasive algae known as Lyngbya which had taken over Kings Bay and the river. The invasion came as a result of a tremendous saltwater plume of seawater that was pushed into the freshwater bay in back 1993 due to the “No Name Storm”, also known as the “Storm of the Century”. Lisa Moore, President of Save Crystal River, said regarding this incident,
“Our crystal-clear water was gone and so was most of the wildlife.”
The result of the storm left all the freshwater vegetation dead, causing it to sink to the bottom of the waterways allowing the Lyngbya to take over instead. The native seagrass was no longer in the waterways forming a harmful environment to many a species, such as manatees, “it was very stressful on the manatees, we lost a lot of them and they were very thin, it was a horrible situation,” said Howard Miller Vice President of Sales at Sea & Shoreline.
The terrible situation was luckily reversed in 2015 when Save Crystal River partnered with Sea & Shoreline on the Kings Bay restoration project. Around four to six feet of muck was removed from 92 acres of the bay and replaced with a healthy seagrass known as Vallisneria Americana. The newly planted seagrass has now spread to over 300 acres of the bay,
“our healthy habitat and our wildlife both above and below the surface of the water has returned,”
said Moore. Seagrass needs sunlight in order to grow, therefore it can only survive in shallower bodies of water. The benefits of seagrass go even further than helping the Crystal River and its inhabitants,
“an acre of seagrass is equivalent to 300 acres of the carbon footprint in the rainforest, so you can see for things such as global warming how important seagrass is to the environment,”
said Miller. Moore shared that a challenge still facing the Crystal River today is the abundance of boating, “Save Crystal River is trying to educate boaters to trim their motors to avoid prop scarring in the new seagrass, and to use responsible anchoring methods to avoid tearing out the grass,” Moore said.
Save Crystal River and Sea & Shoreline have worked together to educate the public on saving Florida’s waters through seagrass restoration for over 8 years. In 2015, Save Crystal River began the seagrass restoration program at Crystal River Primary School. They partnered with Duke Energy, Sea & Shoreline, along with educators at the school to develop a curriculum for students to learn about and participate in the Crystal River restoration. The team has donated an aquarium to each of the classrooms with water and sand from the river. Students are taught how to plant their own seagrass and then observe it grow throughout the school year, “it’s probably one of the proudest things that our company has been involved with,” said Miller.
If you’d like to get involved in the efforts to restore the river, Save Crystal River offers volunteering opportunities through its multiple outreach programs. You can also help their cause by practicing responsible anchoring and boating methods to avoid damaging wildlife and seagrass.
Furthering Conservation and Restoration Efforts
Save Crystal River has applied for permits for an additional 85 acres of restoration work in Kings Bay. According to Moore, they are also applying for grants and seeking donations to restore the shorelines that have significantly eroded around the islands in the bay which protect the community from storm surges. “There has been a loss of over 100 acres of island shoreline in the past 40 years, this is critical habitat for both aquatic & terrestrial life including that of otters and osprey,” said Moore. Save Crystal River will continue its efforts to protect, restore, and open the many spring vents in Kings Bay. They will also continue to educate the public as much as they can, “donations help us educate current and future residents and visitors about the critical importance of protecting these outstanding Florida waters that make up the second largest spring system in the state of Florida,” Moore said. As for Sea & Shoreline, they will be working with Save Crystal River on upcoming restoration projects throughout the river and bay and also continuing their aquatic restoration work on other projects taking place in waters throughout the state.
If you’d like to learn more about the amazing work being done by these organizations, you can visit their websites below!