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Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance Begins Invasive Plant Removal from SoWal Coastal Dune Lakes

June 10, 2019 by SoWal Staff

Invasive plants are out-competing native varieties in our coastal dune lakes here in South Walton.

In order to make room for the native species - which better support wildlife - the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) and the AmeriCorps team will begin to remove the vegetation this month. The removal will help restore water flow between portions of the lake that are currently bottlenecked.

Are you interested in helping out with the removal efforts? Email our Restoration Coordinator Rachel at gwinr@nwfsc.edu for opportunities in June.

Also on June 15th you can help CBA build reef breakwaters for "Operation Restoration".

Seagrass Monitoring in Choctawhatchee Bay
In 2009 CBA began a long-term monitoring project to analyze coverage and abundance of seagrass in the Choctawhatchee Bay. In 2016 we collaborated with the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute to conduct a more in-depth monitoring protocol involving light attenuation, seagrass growth, abundance, sting ray transects, and related water quality variables.

The monitoring team - led by Coordinator Jenna Testa - has begun the 2019 monitoring season. The Choctawhatchee Bay has two main types of seagrass. Shoal grass, or Halodule wrightii, is the most commonly found species in the bay and thrives in areas with higher salinity levels. The species sports long narrow strands and can form carpet-like beds. Widgeon grass, or Ruppia maritima, is often said not to be a “true” seagrass because it tolerates both freshwater and marine water. It has thin leaves that grow from branched stems, and can have small buds or blooms.

June and July Marks the CBA Summer Library Program!
“From Shelves to the Shores” is a hands-on science program offered at community libraries. The program runs for 4-5 weeks in June and July and is free and open to the public. Activities include growing shoreline grasses, an interactive touch tank, and more. Our final activity will be an exciting trip to Choctawhatchee Bay. To learn more, click here.
 

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