Citrus County residents recently benefited from a grass giveaway.
About 50 people left with more than 1,000 peat pots of eelgrass grown as part of the District’s Hunters Cove Revegetation Project.
The District has been growing mats of eelgrass in ponds at the Duke Energy Mariculture Center in Crystal River. After the mats were grown, they were rolled up and transported to Hunters Cove in Crystal River and placed on the bottom in sections, similar to planting sod on land.
The project is part of the community effort to restore Kings Bay by restoring eelgrass in Hunters Cove, a 10-acre area surrounding Hunters Springs. Eelgrass, once abundant in Kings Bay, is a native aquatic plant critical to improving water quality and sustaining beneficial fish and wildlife habitat. Lyngbya, a fast-growing algae, has taken over much of Hunters Cove, making it nearly impossible for eelgrass to reestablish on its own.
With an abundance of the grass still available, Duke Energy and the group Save Crystal River hosted a giveaway of eelgrass to residents of waterfront property for planting. This eelgrass variety, cultivated by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), is extremely hardy, which has earned it the nickname “Rock Star” eelgrass.
Visit WaterMatters.org/EelgrassProject to learn more about the District’s revegetation project and see a video of the process.