Vote now to make Project GreenShores the Solution Search winner.
Project Green Shores has been entered in the Solution Search – Reducing Our Risk competition where twenty-one innovative solutions to reduce community risk in the face of natural hazards (fire, hurricanes, flooding) compete for a prize of $25,000. The Solution Search contest was founded by non-profit Rare CEO Brett Jenks “For too long the conservation community has focused on the study and promotion of problems – overfishing, deforestation, species extinction, climate change. Despair makes headlines and desperation fuels fundraising appeals. But naming the problem is very different from sourcing the solution, and fortunately solutions abound. The vision of Solution Search is to illuminate successful innovations in community-led conservation.”
Project GreenShores (PGS) is 30 acres of restored oyster, salt marsh, and seagrass habitat along 2 miles of urban waterfront in downtown Pensacola. The community based partnership project is managed by The Northwest Florida Aquatic Preserves Office, part of Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection. Working together, the Florida coastal community is creating coastal habitat which also offers water quality filtering benefits as well as protection for the shoreline and urban development along Bayfront Parkway. PGS was conceptualized in 1999 in conversations between FDEP and Gulf Power who donated $100,000 to jumpstart the project that was ultimately grew into almost $6 million in cash and “in-kind” donations. To date there have been over 60 partners including: City of Pensacola, Escambia County, Gulf Power, NOAA, EPA Gulf of Mexico Program, Naval Air Station Pensacola, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Coastal Management Program, Ecosystem Restoration Support Organization, local businesses, citizens, school groups, scout groups including over 850 scouts donating over 2,500 hours.
“Living shorelines like Project GreenShores provide water quality treatment by taking up nutrients from the water, provide critical nursery habitat forour commercial and recreational fish species, great habitat for crabs and birds, explains Darryl Boudreau, Director Florida Local Government Relations for The Nature Conservancy. “They also happen to become amazing places to kayak and collect baitfish, and protect our communities by reducing the impact of storm surge and wave action. As a result, the investment of creating living shorelines is well worth the effort as they have a tremendous impact on numerous aspects of our lives economically and recreationally”
Due to the numerous birds that have been documented using this habitat, PGS has been designated as a stop on the Great Florida Birding Trail (over 60 species of migratory and residential bird populations), and the site is also used for other recreational activities such as fishing and kayaking.
Key features of PGS include oyster reef substrate composed of limestone, concrete and fossilized shell (which allows for a comparison of oyster colonization between substrate types), thriving seagrass beds, and saltmarsh which was mostly only spartina grass and now includes multiple species as the saltmarsh continues to mature and become more rich with other species of marsh plants over time.
“The project would not have been possible without partners such as the Naval Air Station Pensacola who donated concrete for Site 2 and who’s Seabees were key in completing the oyster reef at Site 1, the City of Pensacola – owners of the submerged lands on which PGS is located, and Escambia County who transported all of the sand for Site 2 marshes,” explains Bourdreau who worked on the project directly. “The community believes in the multi-benefits of this project and one of the reasons we think it is a great fit as the winner for the Reducing Our Risk Solution Search contest.”
Project GreenShores is currently in 6th place in the People’s Choice voting with $25,000 and bragging rights at stake. “I am urging everyone I know to vote every day, Bourdreau said. “Currently we are about a thousand votes out of first place and there are 10 days left in the voting period. If you would like to vote, you can vote once a day every day to help this project win the recognition it deserves.”
Project GreenShores is listed as “Ecosystem Restoration Support Organization. To vote now you can follow this link: http://www.solutionsearch.org/entityform/121
For more information:
- Learn more about Project Green Shores at the Florida Coastal Office Project Green Shores’ Website
- Read more about Solution Search – Reducing Our Risk
Florida’s Coastal Office manages more than 4 million acres of the most valuable submerged lands and select coastal uplands. The Office manages 41 aquatic preserves and, in coordination with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, three National Estuarine Research Reserves, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and the Coral Reef Conservation Program.