Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Be a volunteer helping monitor seagrass in northwest Florida

The Aquatic Habitat Conservation and Restoration Program of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is seeking volunteers and college students to assist with the 2017 Seagrass Integrated Monitoring and Mapping program: This is a statewide collaborative effort which facilitates the collection and publication of monitoring and mapping data for Florida seagrasses in order to assess the status and trends of this vital ecosystem. Florida seagrass beds are extremely valuable marine habitats, as many economically important fish and shellfish species depend on seagrass beds for critical stages of their life history. Seagrasses also provide food and shelter for endangered mammals and turtles and play a role in nutrient cycling, sediment stabilization and coastal biodiversity.

Volunteers are needed to assist FWC staff with collection of water quality data and the monitoring of submerged seagrass at about 150 sites in the bays and estuaries of Franklin County in northwest Florida. Surveys will be completed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays from July 18 to August 10
, weather permitting. Only strong swimmers need apply; and you must bring your own snorkel and mask. Volunteers can commit to one day or multiple days. Transportation is available each day from Tallahassee to boat launch sites in Franklin County.

If you are interested in gaining field experience in the area of marine/estuarine ecology by participating in this effort, please contact Katie Konchar, NW Florida’s marine/estuarine habitat biologist, at or 850-879-7520.