Lignumvitae Key Submerged Lands Management Area and State Park encompasses 8,400 acres of shallow water seagrass meadows surrounding Indian Key, Shell Key and Lignumvitae Key. Seagrasses form the structure for one of the Keys’ most vital marine habitats. They stabilize the bottom, filter sediments from the water, and provide food and shelter for much of Keys sea life. Boaters damage Lignumvitae’s seagrass banks when they stray from the narrow winding channels and run aground. Boat propellers tear holes in the lush green seagrass beds causing fragmentation, erosion, and loss of water clarity. Each year acres of seagrass habitat are lost at Lignumvitae due to boating impacts.

CRG and the Keys Restoration Fund have an important role to play as a source of funding and expertise to assist the Park with ongoing efforts to prevent boating impacts and restore damaged sea bottom. Our planned projects include topographic restoration and monitoring of a recent grounding site, an emergency response fund to quickly repair damage, new channel markings, placement of bird stakes to facilitate natural recovery, additional boater education, and enhanced enforcement. Current levels of seagrass damage threaten Islamorada’ renowned fisheries, and we are working to preserve these valuable resources for future generations.

For more information on this project, please go to the links page. Seagrass photos courtesy of Janice Duquesnel.