NewsProtecting Paradise


Tarpon Cove project aims to breathe life into wildlife habitat

Posted at 11:39 AM, Jun 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-17 17:42:19-04

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You may have seen barges in the Intracoastal Waterway near the El Cid neighborhood in West Palm Beach.

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It's called Tarpon Cove, and it's a Palm Beach County habitat restoration project designed to become a nesting area for birds and to bring new life underwater too.

Mangroves are a key element in the project, and two brothers nicknamed the 'Mang brothers' are making sure there are enough of the shrubs for the cove project.

"So it’s really our mission to give back to the ecosystems that give back so much to us," said Keith Rossin.

In 2015, the twins launched the company MANG, short for mangroves. For each t-shirt, hat, or sticker they sell, they plant a mangrove in return.

"It’s inspiring to see that when we build habitats for the environment, we see creatures that move in that really enjoy it," said Kyle Rossin.

The Rossins are part of a team developing Tarpon Cove, which is the newest restoration project underway in the Lake Worth lagoon.

"These islands aren’t even done yet and we already have a nesting pair of American oyster catchers with chicks on the ground," said Benji Studt with Palm Beach County's Environmental Resources Management.

The project is similar to the South Cove natural area along the downtown West Palm Beach waterfront that Palm Beach County completed in 2013.

"It provides a nursery ground for juvenile fish and marine species," said Studt. "The oysters, the mangroves, the salt marsh, they all help to filter the water and improve water quality."

Recent dredging projects nearby have provided the sand for these man-made islands. A contractor will soon sculpt the sand piles before adding rocks, and then the Rossins will be back out planting mangroves.

"Those leaves become the 'salad for the sea,' I call it," said Kyle Rossin.

"To bring life to these areas that we love and use to fish and see a lot of life in is something that just really touches our hearts," said Keith Rossin.

One of the project managers said they hope to have Tarpon Cove completed by the end of summer.