Big Pine Key
Florida Keys, USA
Florida Keys, USA
Dune & Watershed Restoration
SeaTrees, in partnership with Coastlove, is working to restore degraded dune ecosystems in the Florida Keys.
South Florida is home to a diverse array of coastal ecosystems, including mangrove forests, coastal dunes, wetlands, and hardwood hammocks - all of which have been negatively affected by coastal development and storms in recent years. By restoring these coastal dunes, we're able to provide habitat for countless species, beautify cities and parks, increase storm protection, prevent coastal erosion, and increase carbon sequestration.
Dune ecosystems across the Florida Keys were destroyed by Hurricane Irma in 2017 which devastated both the old growth upland forest and local mangrove forests.
To regenerate this critical coastal watershed, SeaTrees and Coastlove are restoring 12,000 sqm (129, 167 sq-ft) of degraded dune systems across those two sites within Big Pine Key: Camp Sawyer & Big Munson Island.
Together with Coastlove, this project will work in collaboration with the Scouts of America. The restoration of the dune will include the planting native species to stabilize the soil in order to increase biodiversity and provide shade to campers.
This project is not just about restoration; it's an educational opportunity for Scouts to learn about conservation, get hands-on experience with tree planting, and play an active role in caring for our environment.
Engaging the local community is a central focus of the project, with opportunities for the public to attend volunteer restoration events. Select volunteer opportunities will also be geared towards youth empowerment and unrepresented communities in order to expose youth to their local habitats, and foster a broader sense of environmental stewardship.
This project is dedicated to preserving and enhancing the biodiversity within its encompassed projet area. A primary objective of the project is to conduct a comprehensive baseline study aimed at identifying and documenting the various species inhabiting these habitats. Noteworthy inhabitants encompass the iconic Florida Key Deer, nesting Sea Turtles, the elegant White Crowned Pigeon, the vibrant Miami Blue Butterfly, diverse shore birds, the elusive Lower Keys Marsh Rabbit, and resourceful raccoons.
The project site is particularly distinguished for hosting the world's third-largest reef track. It is imperative to recognize that the health of these reefs is significantly influenced by land-based activities. As part of our commitment to conservation, this project aims to mitigate these impacts, ensuring the sustained well-being of the ecosystems and the preservation of their invaluable biodiversity.
Phase 1, successfully concluded, focused on reinstating soil stabilization along the beachfront. Building on this accomplishment, Phase 2 is set to revitalize the island's interior by reintroducing historically native trees. The restoration initiative encompasses the cultivation of Buttonwoods, Gumbo Limbos, Sea Grapes, and mangroves, aiming to reestablish the ecosystem's ecological balance.
Given that the island is under the ownership of the Scouts of America, the project places a strong emphasis on educational outreach. Youth engagement is a key component, providing hands-on experiences that not only contribute to the restoration efforts but also foster a sense of environmental stewardship. This approach seeks to instill in the younger generation a lifelong commitment to preserving and nurturing the natural world.
CoastLove is a nonprofit organization passionately dedicated to the preservation and sustainable management of coastal environments. Their mission is to advocate for the health and resilience of coastal ecosystems, fostering a deep appreciation for the intricate balance between land and sea. Through community engagement, education, and proactive conservation initiatives, CoastLove strives to empower individuals to become stewards of our coastlines.
This project covers Sustainable Development goals addressing Gender Equality, Clean Water, Reduced Inequalities, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Climate Action, Life Below Water, and Life on Land. A more in depth analysis into these benefits is coming soon.