The 35th Annual Everglades Coalition Conference was hosted by the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society at South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island on January 9-11, 2020. The theme for the 2020 conference was “America’s Everglades: All Hands On Deck,” an acknowledgement that all interests must work together to protect the Everglades.

A great example of the theme was displayed during one of the final panels that focused on the importance of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) and sea grass to the health of our lakes, rivers, estuaries, and coastal marine habitats. Moderated by Brett Fitzgerald from the Angler Action Foundation, the panel covered everything from importance of SAV habitats in Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee River and estuary, to the massive sea grass die-offs in Florida Bay from the lack of freshwater flows to the estuaries. David Ceilley, Senior Aquatic Ecologist at Johnson Engineering, has been working on restoration of SAV habitat in the Caloosahatchee River since 2002 and presented the results of several pilot studies and a much larger ongoing effort with the Angler Action Foundation and Sea & Shoreline, with State Funding of $1,000,000. One common element in all the presentations was the importance of building and maintaining partnerships in order to raise awareness, make progress towards restoration, and most importantly, to obtain political support and the critical funding needed to protect and restore habitat.

If you have questions or would like additional information about the SAV restoration projects that Johnson Engineering is involved with, please contact David Ceilley at [email protected].