This is an event hosted by Manatee County Parks & Natural Resources Department.
Lend a Hand at Robinson Preserve
From the Parks & NRD:
"This is a special call for help as we move closer to getting the salt marsh areas at Robinson Preserve Expansion area fully planted. This is an unusual time of the day for a RIP Squad event to start but, we’re accommodating a special guest for this one (Cathy Carter with WUSF 89.7), and I’m using it as a good excuse to get in the mud and do some restoration work with you. You will see an increase in these volunteer help requests as we have now moved from the earthmoving contractor management stage, to the vegetation establishment stage of this project. We will be needing lots of volunteer help over the next two years at the Expansion on various “fill in the gaps” type projects. This will be very similar to the work so many of you did to move Perico Preserve along its restoration trajectory.
For this event, Erin and I will spend a good part of the morning harvesting units to transplant. We’ll go over plant installation details on the site. This is wet and muddy work, in the hot sun and IN the water. Wear stuff you can get wet, closed toed shoes that can get very muddy, and sun protection. Also, we’re still in the middle of a global pandemic, so even though we’re outside, we will be maintaining our distance from each other and masking when we’re close. During discussions, sign-in, that wonderful group photo you know I’m going to take, and any other time where we can’t keep more than at least 6’ apart, wear a mask. Please be respectful of this. We will meet at the north end of the Robinson Expansion Parking Area (off of 9th AVE NW) at 11:00AM. We’ll plant until about 1PM but if you want more, I’ll stay out there with you and I know where to get more plants. Bring water, snacks, gloves, and sun protection. Oxyclean gets the mud stains out of your clothes. We’ve got plenty of shovels.
IMPORTANT: We have a new waiver for you to sign related to COVID and any first-timers need to sign our volunteer forms.
Big Picture Stuff:
Now that the Robinson Expansion created basin is tidal, we need to establish salt marsh cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) on the areas of exposed shoreline. We’ve had numerous crews working on this over the last month and we’re pretty close to being done. I’d estimate volunteers have transplanted nearly 10,000 plants already! If we were paying for a contractor to do this, it would be about $0.75 per plant installed, so the direct dollar value is very real! It will take about a year for these plantings to fully coalesce, then through natural succession, the marsh grasses will capture mangrove seeds on the tides and these areas will convert to mangrove forest. This usually takes about 7 years from when we plant cordgrass until we’ve got mangroves pretty well taken over. This is the same process that has played out on the original phase of Robinson Preserve and Perico Preserve.
There are MANY well-known benefits to mangrove forest but one that has been getting a lot of attention lately carbon storage, aka blue carbon. Estuarine wetland habitats do a wonderful job of sequestering atmospheric carbon in the soils, where it stays put OUT of the atmosphere. Mangrove forests do this to the tune of 8.2 tons of carbon stored, per hectare, per year. There is 17.2 acres (6.96 hectares) of created estuarine habitat at the Expansion that will transition into mangrove in the coming years. The work of volunteers establishing these marsh grass plantings is expected to resulted in 57.4 tons of carbon removal from the atmosphere every year. There are numerous other ecological benefits, but please know, what you are doing is a big deal and has a lasting and wide-ranging impact. More on blue carbon here. https://estuaries.org/bluecarbon/blue-carbon-science-projects/"
To RSVP please contact:
Division Manager – Ecological and Marine Resources
Phone: 941.748.4501 X 8073
Email: [email protected]