Titusville Cocoa Airport Authority, Brevard Zoo Complete Seagrass Restoration Demonstration Project

By  //  October 18, 2017

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in Indian River Lagoon at Merritt Island Airport

Titusville Cocoa Airport Authority and Brevard Zoo announced the completion of a seagrass restoration demonstration project as part of a larger safety improvement program at Merritt Island Airport.

BREVARD COUNTY • MERRITT ISLAND, FLORIDA –  Titusville Cocoa Airport Authority and Brevard Zoo announced the completion of a seagrass restoration demonstration project as part of a larger safety improvement program at Merritt Island Airport.

Titusville Cocoa Airport Authority contracted Michael Baker International, Inc. to design the seagrass island as part of the Runway 11-29 Safety

Improvements project. Sediment containing benthic invertebrate, nutrients and seagrass rhizomes where seagrass thrived was relocated from the impact area at the end of the airport’s Runway 29 to the north side of the runway where the island was created.

Sea and Shoreline, LLC harvested seagrass from the end of Runway 29, grew it in a nursery and replanted it at the one-acre seagrass island that was created as mitigation for the environmental impacts associated with the Merritt Island Airport Runway 11-29 Safety Area Improvements project.

On March 16,  Titusville Cocoa Airport Authority named the island, the Rodney Thompson Seagrass Restoration Island.

The project at Merritt Island Airport established specific methods for designing, planting and growing seagrass in the Indian River Lagoon.

The project was generously funded by Laurilee Thompson and her partners. Her father, Rodney, is the namesake of the newly created seagrass island.

Thompson’s partners include Rodney and Mary Jean Thompson, Dixie Crossroads Seafood Restaurant, Wild Ocean Seafood Market, Jim and Jonnie Swann and Malcolm Kirschenbaum.

The project at Merritt Island Airport established specific methods for designing, planting and growing seagrass in the Indian River Lagoon.

The newly planted seagrass was injected with a non-eutrophying subaqueous growth enhancing formula into the sediment where the seagrass was planted to promote rhizome growth.

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SAVGROW herbivory protection devices were used to prevent grazing until the seagrass was established.

To measure the project’s success, Florida Institute of Technology students, led by Professor Jonathan Shenker, are monitoring the seagrass growth.

Since the initial seagrass installation in September 2016, the plants have successfully thrived in the lagoon, covering more than half of the entire island.

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