Restoring Native Plants at Red Reef and South Beach Parks
Boca Raton, FL – The City of Boca Raton is taking steps to revitalize the environmental health of its coastal parks with a native plant restoration project at Red Reef and South Beach Parks. In collaboration with the Institute for Regional Conservation (IRC), the City is working to remove invasive plant species from beach dunes and hammocks, replacing them with native vegetation. This initiative is part of a multi-year strategy to improve the resiliency and biological diversity of the City’s beachfront parks and will be completed with active participation from community volunteers.
Invasive species, due to their rapid growth and spread, can take over native plants, resulting in diminished biodiversity, habitat loss, and food sources for native insects and animals. This ecological imbalance also jeopardizes the strength of dunes and other coastal ecosystems.
“The City’s partnership with IRC for managing the ecosystems at Red Reef and South Beach Parks is an exciting endeavor,” stated Lindsey Roland Nieratka, the City’s Sustainability Manager. “By eliminating invasive exotic species and replacing them native plants, we are enhancing the dune systems and providing a better habitat for native wildlife and pollinators. We are grateful for the dedication of our community volunteers, who have invested hours of their time in these efforts.”
The invasive species targeted for removal can often be introduced as ornamental plants found in landscaping or as house plants, like the beach naupaka, oyster plant, and bowstring-hemp. They will be replaced by an array of native coastal strand and beach dune plants, including two endangered and threatened species in Florida: sea lavender and inkberry.
Public education and participation are integral parts of the City’s restoration efforts. Volunteers of all ages carry out the work of removal, digging holes, replanting, watering and more, allowing for large areas to be restored quickly. Upcoming volunteer opportunities include:
Saturday, August 19 | 9am – 11am, Red Reef Park
Saturday, September 30 | 9am – 11am, South Beach Park