Save Crystal River is committed to using science to make our Kings Bay Restoration Project successful. Our goal is a bay that stays pristine for generations to come. That’s why Save Crystal River partnered with scientists to study this project and to learn from it.  We keep our science team involved so we can keep making the best decisions possible, and create new information for others who want to restore their waters.

Developing a Winning Team

We work hard to understand the science behind habitat restoration. This means we talk to many experts and work with many scientists.  Staying linked to the scientific community ensures that the Kings Bay Restoration Project uses the most up-to-date information about the technology and processes that can deliver success. We’re publishing articles to share knowledge about some of the ways cutting edge science is being utilized to save Crystal River.

Underwater Farming!

Growing eelgrass is very similar to growing sod – it’s just underwater!  Sea & Shoreline scientists carefully grow eelgrass plants for this project in their aquatic nursery. The plants that end up in Kings Bay are  grown in inland ponds.  Here’s why:  We won’t harm another ecosystem by harvesting eelgrass to plant in Kings Bay. All our plants are lovingly farm raised! Growing plants inland means they are healthy because they can be fertilized and cared for in controlled conditions, exactly as needed.  Finally, but importantly, farm raised plants won’t introduce a pest into Kings Bay. We would hate to accidentally transplant another invasive plant, animal, or bacteria into our waterways. By growing plants in controlled cultivation ponds, scientists can study them carefully, understanding exactly what they need to thrive. This knowledge helps us find and match the ideal conditions in Kings Bay where experts think these plants can grow well.

Eelgrass plantings Hunter Springs

Small plantings used for educational purposes.

KBRP – a Measurement of Success

Additionally, Save Crystal River hires independent biologists to study the Kings Bay Restoration Project. Scientists with Johnson Engineering studied these canals before and after restoration in 2016 and 2017. The first study showed a significant increase in biodiversity in the restored canals! Samples were taken again before work started in each season’s restoration work.   Scientists will return and take additional samples after each are restoration is finished. Stay tuned to see what exciting results they find this year by comparing the before and after data!

Citizen Scientists!

We have concrete scientific evidence this project works.  And we’re developing a small army of citizen scientists who report their findings to us all the time. We’re looking for everyone that uses Kings Bay to see the drastic improvement for themselves. The best measurement of success we could hope for is to have the public see and appreciate our work.  Take a peek at our Facebook page and check out all of the wonderful comments and beautiful photos people have shared! Have you taken any great photos showing the meadows of eelgrass, the schools of fish, or the scores of blue crabs that have returned? Then be sure to share them with us – we love seeing what you see!

Here are some quotes from people who have seen for themselves:

I have been guiding for 3 years out there. I Lived here for 26 years and what a difference it has made!! 2 years ago the only grass you could find was in cages and everything was darker. Now there is grass everywhere in hunters and its doing awesome!! Job well done!! Its working!!! – Crystal River guide Misty Kelly