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Mangrove restoration

 

Mangroves grow along our estuarine shoreline. They are unique because they are considered halophytes, meaning they are able to grow in salty conditions.

There are three species of mangroves that usually grow at different distances from the water:

  • The red mangrove generally grows farthest out into the water. It is easily identified by its prop roots that give it added stability.
  • The black mangrove grows a little farther inland from the red mangrove. Instead of prop roots, its roots grow horizontally, but have projections called pneumatophores that stick up and allow the tree to breath.
  • Growing farthest inland is the white mangrove. It does not have prop roots or pneumatophores. White mangroves have two glands on the bottom of the leaves that excrete salt, which is taken in by the underground roots.

Mangroves are very susceptible to cold temperatures; in some areas you can see the snags left behind by trees that didn’t survive the freezes of previous years. For this reason, Ponce Inlet is gemerally considered the northern boundary for mangrove growth, although some trees can be found in Ormond Beach and farther north.

Mangroves are very important to the estuarine ecosystem because they provide habitat, filter sediments, and protect shorelines from erosion. Because red mangroves grow the farthest into the water and their unique root structure can handle waves and provide refuge for juvenile fish and other animals, Volusia County Environmental Management is concentrating restoration efforts on this species.

Since 2006, VCEM has partnered with the Marine Discovery Center for mangrove and oyster restoration. The Marine Discovery Center has housed these red and black mangroves until they were planted or distributed to participating Volusia County Schools to grow out.  They also have been experimenting with a technique using burlap and four to five propagules per pot.

Volusia County Environmental Management has also partnered with private property owners to develop innovative planting methods such as these floating beds of mangrove propagules.

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