Business says it can bring sea grass back into the Indian River Lagoon

Has spearheaded many projects in Tampa Bay

Coming off what was described as a "lost summer" for the Indian River Lagoon, environmentalists are looking for ways to bring back the sea grasses stronger than before.

 

Tuesday, two businessman from Florida's west coast brought over their idea that they believe can work just as well on the east coast.

 

Captain Don Voss looks at the water where he docks his boat in Ft. Pierce. 

 

"When I first moved down here in 2000, this was all sea grass down here," said Captain Voss, who heads the local Marine Cleanup Initiative.

 

But now, there's nothing. 

 

So Tuesday, Captain Voss was among a handful of environmentalists and local leaders listening to two businessmen from Tampa show how they've restored sea grass beds on Florida's West Coast.

 

"I farm it. I water it, I take care of it. I know what it takes to grow sea grass," said Jim Anderson with Aquatic Ecosystem Solutions.

 

Anderson's sea grass is injected with kelp and natural hormones, then placed inside small cylindrical cages to keep the manatees from eating it.

 

Wherever you plant the sea grass, Anderson says it has to be in shallow water where there's plenty of light.

 

Two decades ago, Anderson's favorite fishing spot in Hillsborough County was in danger of being shut down.

 

"You don't stop a road or close a road because of a pothole, you fix it," said Anderson.

 

He feels the same thing can be done here by using locally sourced sea grass, growing it, then replanting.

 

St. Lucie County's coastal manager said he was impressed but ultimately it comes down to time, and money.

A test plot would cost around 150 thousand dollars.

 

"Sea grass and oysters clear the water. The clearer the water, the less chance for algae," said Captain Don Voss.

 

Captain Voss, who spends 200 days a year cleaning the water of debris, wouldn't mind some more natural help.

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