Located in Highlands County, Lake Istokpoga is the fifth-largest lake in Florida. Both recreational and professional anglers from all over the nation travel to the lake to experience one of the best bass fishing lakes in the state. However, nutrient enrichment and the loss of beneficial aquatic plants led to suboptimal conditions for aquatic life. To restore and enhance the native plant community, Sea & Shoreline’s efforts included planting Illinois Pondweed, a common aquatic plant in Florida. This plant will provide quality habitat for keystone species of fish and birds, such as bass and snail kites.
“Native pondweed and eelgrass were the dominant submerged aquatic plants in the lake before invasive hydrilla became prominent. The creation of native submerged meadows will allow the lake to function in a more stable manner,” said Sea & Shoreline’s Lead Biologist Ryan Brushwood. “The main goal of our work in Lake Istokpoga is to restore native submerged plants and the ecosystem services they provide.”
In addition to the restoration work in the middle of the state, Sea & Shoreline is also working to restore seagrass in the West Bay segment of St. Andrew Bay, a 69,000-acre estuary located in Bay County. St. Andrew Bay is a significant cultural and commercial waterbody. The seagrass being planted is in an area of historical seagrass loss stemming from water quality issues. Water quality in West Bay has improved to the point where seagrass can grow and thrive. Transplanted seagrass plants are also protected from stingrays and wave action as part of this habitat restoration project.
Earlier this year, Sea & Shoreline launched its newest crusade, “Seagrass Saves Sea Life”, in an effort to raise awareness and educate consumers and legislators on the critical environmental and ecological benefits of seagrass. With the tragic increase in manatee deaths this year, the company is working to reverse this crisis, and to help marine life survive by restoring Florida’s aquatic habitats by removing muck and planting more seagrass which will help to clean the water column, reduce algal blooms, and provide food and habitat for manatees, turtles, fish, and other sea life. Both restoration projects, as well as many others under Sea & Shoreline’s leadership, are instrumental in improving the health of Florida’s waterways for future generations to come.
Since its inception in 2014, Sea & Shoreline’s heralded experience with scientifically validated methods of aquatic restoration has proven successful across more than 150 environmental projects. The company continues to be the industry leader in rehabilitating degraded aquatic environments, with proven success in places such as Crystal River, the Homosassa River, the Caloosahatchee River, and in Tucker Cove and the Banana River located in the Indian River Lagoon.
ABOUT SEA & SHORELINE
Sea & Shoreline, LLC is a Florida-based aquatic restoration firm that restores fresh and saltwater habitats to…