Back in the 1950’s, Naples Bay began its metamorphosis as it changed from being a natural, mangrove lined, shallow estuary to a dredged body of water. Instead of being filtered naturally, stormwater now enters the bay via canals, including the main Golden Gate canal which connects to the Gordon River. This canal alone spills an average of over 200 million gallons of water a day into the bay!~ This excess fresh water damages the bay’s natural balance of fresh and salt water and in doing so disrupts the delicate estuarine process.
There are three fairly easy methods available to all of us which can greatly improve the overall health of Naples Bay:
Landscape GuidelinesRiprap vs. SeawallsMangroves
Here are a few suggestions on how you can help:
Don’t fertilize close to waterbeds! It is suggested that you have a buffer of 10 to 20 feet along the shoreline consisting of plants that require less water and very little fertilizer or pesticides. This will minimize the amount of stormwater run-off that is potentially harmful. For additional information about landscape guidelines I invite you to log onto an interactive website at www.FloridaYards.org )
Riprap is a collection of loose rocks placed at an angle along a shoreline of a property. It provides an excellent habitat for oysters to thrive and plants to grow. Riprap is actually more effective than seawalls at dissipating wave energy. If you have an existing seawall, it is recommended that you place riprap in front of it; this will extend its life and assist in restoring the bay. If your seawall is in need of replacement, consider installing riprap if possible.
Mangroves form the base of the food chain in the Naples Bay estuarine ecosystem. Today, 70% of the mangrove fringe has been lost. If you have mangrove on your property please use care when trimming. The proper technique is called “windowing”. You can contact Natural Resources for a mangrove trimming guide, or log onto a website that I found interesting at www.mangrovetrim.com
There are some major issues facing Naples Bay which include: Habitat loss, Poor stormwater quality, Excess freshwater and Residential development. If we all work together, as part of the solution instead of the problem, we CAN restore Naples Bay!
*My partner Chip Harris was appointed by the mayor and currently serves on the East Naples Bay Advisory Committee. If you have any questions about the committee and what they are presently involved in, please feel free to call him at 239-370-0574.