Red mangroves are fast-growing and have extensive, loosely-woven "stilt" roots, so they're ideal plants for stabilizing shorelines and protecting intertidal zone ecosystems. When bridge construction destroyed mangroves along US-1 in the Florida Keys, Florida Department of Transportation crews collected mangrove seedlings, which had dropped off the parent plant and were floating in shallow water. They placed the seedlings in the ground, protecting them from tides and waves with a rock berm. The plants rapidly established themselves and now provide nutrients and cover for young fish and other marine organisms. When the mangroves reach maturity they'll be breeding and gathering spots for a variety of wading birds.
--Apr 25, 2003
|Photo by Gary M. Stolz, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service|