Florida bill seeks to boost mangroves

estuary plant

Sen. Ileana Garcia, R-Miami, is again seeking to bolster the state’s mangroves to help protect barrier islands and aid restoration of Biscayne Bay.

Garcia on Thursday filed a bill (SB 32) that calls for the Department of Environmental Protection to work with local governments on identifying vulnerable coastal areas for mangrove restoration and planting efforts.

The bill is filed for the 2024 legislative session, which will start in January.

Garcia also has sought to pass such bills the past two years.

“Putting mangrove in statutes just helps to ensure that the restoration efforts are properly funded,” Garcia said in March when a similar proposal was before a Senate committee.

While Florida since 1996 has protected mangroves from unregulated removal and destruction, the Florida Marine Research Institute said mangrove loss has reached up to 86 percent in some areas since the 1940s.

Mangroves provide natural protection against rising seas during hurricanes, absorb carbon-dioxide emissions and trap pollutants that would otherwise end up in estuaries and coastal waters.

©2023 The News Service of Florida

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