Seagrass feeds marine life while helping our water quality

Seagrass can be found in multiple Southwest Florida waterways including Estero Bay. And, not only does it provide food for marine life but it also contributes to our water quality.

The Creed family stopped by Lee County’s Manatee Park on Tuesday and came all the way from Massachusetts. So far, they haven’t seen any manatees.

Just like warm water helps manatees escape the cold, visitors embrace the Florida heat. “Pretty cold,” said Brianna Creed about life back home. “Yes, probably 20 degrees and it’s, we get a lot of snow.”

Aside from the warm water, there’s something else that manatees love – seagrass. Luckily, it also plays a key role in the underwater environment and in improving our water quality.

James Douglass is an Associate Professor of Marin Science at FGCU’S Water School. “Seagrasses themselves are food for manatees and green sea turtles, so it’s both a food and a habitat,” he said. “So it’s both a food and a habitat, and seagrasses also improve the water quality by absorbing nutrients and preventing harmful algae blooms.”

Douglass keeps tabs on different grasses found in our waterways, including Estero Bay.

“We use the amount of seagrass to gauge how polluted the environment is getting, so we can track the seagrass year by year and see if it’s going down, and if it is, we understand that we need to do more to clean up our pollution,” Douglass said.

So, by keeping the grass greener on our side, we’re also protecting Southwest Florida’s water so that all can enjoy it.

“So you can go to the beach and the pool every single day,” said Camden Creed.

Reporter:Stephanie Byrne
Writer:Drew Hill
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