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Hundreds take part in Mangrove Mania

10,000 ‘seedpods’ planted

September 22, 2016
By CHUCK?BALLARO ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

They came by boat, by canoe and even by paddleboards. Some even brought musical instruments with them for entertainment.

More than 200 people showed up at the corner of Old Burnt Store Road and Tropicana Parkway for the second annual Mangrove Mania event last weekend, where they planted 10,000 mangrove propagules, or sprouted seedpods, along the North Spreader Canal. The effort will hopefully serve to eliminate soil erosion and provide shelter for baby fish from predators as well as filtration.

David Scott, a geologist who has headed up this event, said they have been planting for a while, but when working on state property you need a special permit, which is hard to get because of the nature of the mangrove.

Article Photos

Geologist David Scott explains to volunteers how and where to plant the propagule, or mangrove seedpod, Saturday during Mangrove Mania.


"The mangrove propagates naturally, so biologists want this is happen naturally unless it makes a lot of sense. It makes a lot of sense here because when they dredged, it decimated the natural vegetation and brought in the exotics," Scott said.

Terry Tattar, the "mangrove guru" assisting with the event, said they are doing this because after the DEP removed the invasive exotics, such as melaleuca, from the area.

"There were areas of the shoreline that were denuded of vegetation, and with all the boat traffic, it's causing erosion. We wanted to see if we can reestablish a stable shoreline by planting the red mangrove," Tattar said.

And that's how Mangrove Mania started.

The volunteers stuck the propogules in the ground, being careful not to plant them too close. The hope is that in a few years they'll be up to seven to eight feet and will grow together to form a canopy to protect the shore, and other things Tattar said.

"They act as a nursery for juvenile fish and oysters will grow on their roots.They also absorb the nutrients from the water as they grow. The sea water is the fertilizer for the mangroves," Tattar said. "The oysters further clean the water."

Last year, more than 150 people came to the first Mangrove Mania and planted the same 10,000 propogules, or tiny mangroves. Of those they planted, more than 6,500 survived the first year.

By 10 a.m., Scott had run out of propogules, sending everyone back to home base for an early lunch.

A group of maniacs took a "Captain Jack" boat captained by John Laplante, which was joined by dozens of people in canoes, standing on paddleboards and riding other boats.

This particular group was a group of FGCU students doing this as a special project for their Foundation of Civics Engagement class. Dave Barber said this was part of a service learning project and they chose something with the environment.

"We found Keep Lee County Beautiful online and by researching environmental events in Southwest Florida we got in touch with their event manager and she got us synched up," Barber said, adding that another member of the group brought a drone to video the event and donate the raw footage to keep Lee County Beautiful.

Also there were "The Brothers Vankirk," Warren and Gregory, who brought their acoustic guitars and played music in the canal as members of the Matlacha Mariners.

"To get involved is important because these trees are good for the environment and they keep the ground together and creates earth," Warren said, who added they have a free music class and that many of the kids were out planting the trees.



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