Hernando Sun Staff Report
The Hernando Environmental Land Protectors (HELP) has raised $2,000 towards the county’s Florida Sea Grant Extension shoreline restoration and enhancement project at Jenkins Creek.
Chuck Morton, president of HELP, presented Brittany Hall-Scharf, the Sea Grant Extension Agent in Hernando County, with a check at the group’s December 2019 meeting. Hall-Scharf was the guest speaker at at HELP’s Jan. 14, 2020 meeting and updated the group on current and future projects, including the ongoing aquaponics system and the upcoming living shorelines project.
Florida Sea Grant is a coastal and marine extension program within the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, (UF/IFAS) and conducts science-based outreach programs designed to conserve and sustain Florida’s precious coastal and ocean resources.
Efforts include outreach programs for artificial reefs, derelict crab trap removals, beach cleanups, mangrove and sea oat replanting and oyster reef restoration — programs that have and will continue to improve and restore thousands of acres of natural habitat.
“Our group has been working closely with Hall-Scharf on and marine restoration/enhancement projects.” said Morton. “Projects like funding the marsh grass nursery, shoreline planting and coastal cleanups,” he said.
HELP’s mission is to directly support activities for the conservation and sustenance of Hernando County’s Gulf waters and coastal resources. Other projects HELP is involved with include the installation of coir logs to prevent shoreline erosion, replanting of sea oats and mangroves and depositing mesh bags full of oyster shell in the waters to encourage oyster spawning.
“Healthy oceans and coastlines provide essential nursery grounds for fish, and homes for manatees, wading birds, and other wildlife,” said Hall-Scharf.
“It’s vital that we educate Floridians and visitors about protecting and restoring our natural marine habitats and we truly appreciate the collaboration and community support from HELP,”she said.
For more information about Hernando Environmental Land Protectors, visithttp://www.flhelp.org.