March is Seagrass Awareness Month
Published on March 6th, 2022
If you’ve ever caught weeds on your blades, you know how decimating it can be to performance. After all the time and money spent on being fast, leaning over the side to clear the clutter is no way to have fun.
The Waterlust team, in their efforts to help fund research and educate the world about environmental conservation, is never far from the water. In this report, they strive to heighten our awareness of how that clutter is a good thing:
Did you know that March is Seagrass Awareness Month? This year it’s especially critical to help the seagrasses as we’re losing so much of this unique ecosystem and some of the species that depend on them because of human action (and inaction).
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, in the first two months of this year there have been 326 known manatee mortalities. This is very similar to numbers last year when there was a loss of 10% of the manatee population.
Many of these deaths are happening around the Indian River Lagoon where seagrass beds are being impacted because of nutrient pollution leading to an increased number of algal blooms. You can watch this video to see how algal blooms and loss of seagrass can affect manatees.
On the policy side of things, several organizations filed a lawsuit against the US Fish and Wildlife Service for not revising critical manatee habitat and putting the EPA on notice for diminished water quality standards in these areas.
They also noted that the downgrading of manatees from Endangered to Threatened under the Endangered Species Act wasn’t justified and that this continued protection for them and their habitats is vital.
What can individuals like you do? Reduce pollution from yard chemicals which would prevent algal blooms from forming. It’s important to know your local fertilizer laws, and follow the Florida Friendly Landscaping Program. When you are boating, follow all speed signs, avoid seagrass beds and trim up the boats motor and idle to a safe depth before getting on plane.
It’s important that we take action, no matter how small, to disrupt the cycle of pollution and protect and rebuild the seagrass communities that are essential to not only manatees, but a variety of other marine and aquatic species.