Citizen paddlers and boaters completed the first comprehensive mapping of the Lee and Charlotte county estuarine shoreline in 2007 and again in 2010. Volunteers collected information about how much shoreline was natural vegetation, nonnative vegetation or “hardened” with the seawalls or riprap. They also estimated hurricane damage to the vegetation.
The initial shoreline surveys combined on-site field visits by volunteers with aerial photography interpreted by scientists at Photo Science. Photo Science compared the 2007 data to aerial photo data and then incorporated it into a report.
With the volunteer help, the CHNEP plans on updating the shoreline survey by spring of 2013. The update will compare the results of all three surveys. The 2013 survey is supported with a grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
These surveys provide shoreline vegetation condition information that helps inform resource managers in their efforts to restore and maintain estuary shorelines that support diverse fishery and invertebrate populations. The data are also used in studies such as one on the wetland conditions and changes within the watershed, which was conducted by the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council and the CHNEP, and funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Planning Council and the CHNEP. Survey information helps implement the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP), the CHNEP’s plan to protect the environment.
We need a corps of volunteer paddlers and boaters to help conduct the shoreline survey in 2013. No experience necessary. The CHNEP will provide training and materials, though volunteers will need to have their own water transportation.
Please consider joining us for the training on January 12. If you would like to volunteer for the shoreline survey or would like more information about the project, please contact CHNEP Communications Manager Maran Hilgendorf (firstname.lastname@example.org 866-835-5785, ext.240).
Contributed by the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program
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