Rushes, weeds, and other marsh plants will actively thrive alongside native marine life on Florida’s coastline, thanks to recent funding from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in Tallahassee dedicated to “living shoreline projects.”
With more than $550,000 designated to recipients including the city of Titusville and Bethune-Cookman University, Florida awarded funding directly from its 319(h) nonpoint source pollution reduction grants program. “Nonpoint source pollution” is defined as contamination resulting from diverse sources rather than one specific point of origin.
"Investing in natural projects like these [is] important to our ongoing efforts to restore the Indian River Lagoon," Trina Vielhauer, director of the Division of Water Restoration Assistance, said. "Combined with area stormwater improvements, sewer rehabilitation and low-impact design improvements, these living shoreline projects will help to significantly improve water-quality of the Indian River Lagoon system, a designated Estuary of National Significance."
DEP has channeled over $51 million in 319(h) grants since 2004, enabling more than 80 projects to reach completion. Rapidly growing plants — like alligator flag, pickerelweed, sand cordgrass and bog rush — offer protection both to animals and the environment when planted in shallow water habitats.
The plants help the marsh to absorb tidal impact, concentrate sediment, improve water quality and reduce pollution by filtration. Additionally, the balanced marine life minimizes storm and flood damage.
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