Saturday, September 25, 2021 - 8:00am to 5:00pm EDT
Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection
Aquatic Preserve Program
Frank Pate City Boat Ramp
Port St. Joe, FL32456
St. Joseph Bay, located in Gulf County in the Panhandle, once contained extensive beds of seagrass and supported an abundant scallop fishery. Residents and visitors enjoyed extensive, pristine seagrass beds and clear bay waters. Summertime recreational scallop harvesting contributed greatly to the local economy. Seagrass beds in the bay are dominated by turtle grass which also provide food for abundant green sea turtles. The scallop fishery has become depleted in recent years, algal blooms are more frequent, and the acreage of seagrass beds has decreased.
An overabundance of sea urchins (Lytechinus spp.) continues to destroy turtle grass beds through overgrazing. This project is a partnership between FWRI and the Central Panhandle Aquatic Preserves of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and will jump start natural recovery of seagrass by installing exclosures over grazed areas to allow seagrasses to grow back without sea urchin grazing pressure. The sea urchin roundups will involve citizens to remove sea urchins from active grazing fronts.
Help collect live urchins from St. Joseph Bay in a roundup! The collected urchins – which destroy seagrasses by overgrazing – will be relocated to deeper water by DEP and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Volunteers must register at the Frank Pate City Boat Ramp, located in the heart of Port St. Joe at the intersection of U.S. highways 98 and 71.
Check-in begins at 8 a.m.
Bring your boat and snorkeling gear. Event organizers will provide buckets and gloves.
Upon registration, volunteers will be directed to the rendezvous point, marked by a large, red balloon.
Volunteers will be provided with maps and GPS locations that show where to collect urchins.
Buckets, filled with urchins and seawater, must be returned to the check-in point by 5 p.m.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.