Fruit Farm Creek Mangrove Restoration - A Coastal Resources Group Project - Marco Island FL

a Coastal Resources Group, Inc project

Saving the Mangroves on the Edge of Marco Island & Goodland

There is a PLAN! (click here)We can rescue the dying mangrove forest at the edge of Marco Island, and improve drainage around Goodland to both prevent future death of mangroves there and assist with improving road drainage and flood prevention.

What was once a lush, green stand of mangroves providing nursery habitat for fish and invertebrates like shrimp and crabs, and roosting and foraging spots for wading birds has become a muddy moonscape of leafless trees. Dead now for over 20 years with no sign of recovery.

Drowning Mangrove Roots Create Rotten Egg Smell - Marco Island FloridaThe die-off on both sides of SR-92 just west of Goodland has been decades in the making. The constuction of SR-92 in 1938 cut off the water flow into and out of the mangroves fed by Fruit Farm Creek. Heavy rains that came with Hurricane Andrew in 1992 flooded the forest. Too much water essentially drowns the forest by covering parts of the mangroves' root systems needed to deliver oxygen to the trees. Waterlogged soils lead to a building of toxins that causes a "rotten egg" smell that wafts through nearby neighborhoods.

With sea level rise, more water came in to flood these areas, but like a bathtub, the water could not get out because the normal “drain” was blocked. With time the channel underneath the bridge on SR-92A has also become blocked and allows flooded waters to stand for long periods of time during heavy rains and increase the period of flooding on the road to Goodland. Without a solution, the mangroves west of 92A will show the extensive deaths seen north and south of SR-92. A Solution Is Needed!

That solution has in part been designed and permitted by Coastal Resources Group, Inc., and one phase of the work has been implemented. The solution as shown in the current restoration plan (click here) is to excavate a connecting swale on the north side of SR-92 to restore tidal exchange to the dead mangroves east of Stevens Landing. You can see the mangrove recovery there now! We call this Phase 1a. Phases 1b and 2 include the installation of three new culverts underneath SR-92, and appropriate monitoring to document success! With a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program ($75,000) we have been able to design and permit all of these phases and are awaiting funding through the RESTORE program using funds from the BP oil spill provided to Collier County. The total cost of this phase of the restoration is $1.9 million, and we have raised $500,000 in donations from citizens, donated time from the Conservancy to help with monitoring, and donated matching time from the staff of CRG, a 501(c)3 non-for-profit teaching and research organization. Your donations have helped, but more are needed. Our request for RESTORE funding in the amount of $1.4 million is pending review at this time.

Phase 3 of our proposed work plan has yet to be funded for design and permitting, and the cost is not known. Phase 3 will involve examining the tidal connections under SR-92A (at the bridge) and recommending modifications and perhaps new culverts to improve drainage and prevent the future death of all the mangroves west of SR-92A which are currently showing signs of flooding stress. These improvements along with raising the road should significantly help flooding issues on the road to Goodland and improve local ecological conditions.

We need your help to make all of this happen! Donations are needed now to complete the existing designed and permitted work and begin the design and permitting of Phase 3.

Please send donations to:
Roy R. “Robin” Lewis III, Professional Wetland Scientist (PWS)
President, Coastal Resources Group, Inc.
PO Box 5430
Salt Springs, Florida 32134
If you have any questions you can contact us at: 352.546.4842 OR 813.505.3999
Email the project director:
Roy R "Robin" Lewis III, PWS