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Water-Related News

On Sarasota Bay, seagrass scars from boats cut deep

Sarasota Bay Estuary Program has installed signs around the area to bring awareness to seagrass scarring.

With new signs around Longboat Key and the Sarasota-Manatee area, the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program is trying to give Sarasota Bay seagrasses an easier shot at life.

Three new signs at Longboat Key bay accesses catch the eye with the words “SCARS HURT” marred by a scar through the sign. There are eight other matching signs in SBEP’s area. The signs were designed by Florida Sea Grants and have been up since April as part of a campaign to help stop seagrasses from getting ripped up by passing boats.

“They (the signs) kind of have this rip through them to kind of demonstrate what that looks like in the seagrass bed,” Director of Planning and Communications Darcy Young said. “If you're in a kayak just on the bay, you can see these scars. What happens is that rips the seagrasses up basically from their roots, and makes it challenging for them to regrow in that spot.”

Seagrasses are an important habitat for young marine animals, and they also help filter the bay water by trapping particles in their leaves, so keeping boats away is a high priority. Seagrass beds can be damaged by prop scarring, or propeller scarring. A boat with a motor drives through a bed of seagrass, mowing it down and leaving a scar through it.