Broadcast Audubon

Salt Marsh Planting

A marsh planting Tuesday morning, June 11, 2013 near Tampa Electric’s Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach marked a significant habitat-restoration milestone in the Tampa Bay watershed.Salt Marsh Planting

More than 1 million plugs of marsh grass have been harvested and replanted from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Stock Enhancement Research Facility in Port Manatee since the creation of its donor marsh in 1997.

“We are excited to celebrate the contributions of our donor marsh by using plugs grown there to improve this new donor marsh in Apollo Beach,” said Chris Young, manager of the FWC hatchery.

Tuesday’s planting enhances the new donor marsh at the future home of a conservation and technology park - a partnership between Tampa Electric, the Florida Aquarium and the FWC. This site will soon be home to the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network’s (FYCCN) first marine-focused Youth Conservation Center.    

The new marsh will feature multiple grass species that will aid in coastal and inland habitat restoration. Those grasses will also filter seawater used in a future hatchery facility on the site. The grass at the Port Manatee marsh filters seawater discharged by the current hatchery’s fish-rearing operations; leaving it cleaner than before it was used.

Several partner organizations, including Tampa Bay Watch and the Southwest Florida Water Management District, have collaborated with the FWC to plant marsh grass plugs throughout the Tampa Bay watershed to restore habitats.

“One million salt marsh plugs represents an outstanding level of achievement in the health and restoration of Tampa Bay,” said Peter Clark, president of Tampa Bay Watch. “Our community is truly fortunate to have such a wide variety of organizations all working together to ensure critical environments are protected and restored for future generations.”

Marsh grasses stabilize coastal shorelines and provide food sources and protection to fish, birds and marine mammals. Every 5,000 plugs replanted at 3-foot intervals equals one acre of restored habitat.

Summer camp participants from FYCCN partner YMCA Camp Cristina participated in the June 11 planting. “This activity is an example of the network’s efforts to encourage and empower kids to participate in traditional outdoor recreation and conservation stewardship activities,” said Rae Waddell, director of FYCCN.

For information on the Stock Enhancement Research Facility, visit For information on the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network, visit

SustainAbility Newsletter Archive Article (random)

Choosing Plants for Low Water Use

Harris County Water SignYou are not limited to cacti, succulents, or narrow leafed evergreens when selecting plants adapted to low moisture requirements. Many plants growing in humid environments are well adapted to low levels of soil moisture. Numerous plants found growing in coastal or mountainous regions have developed mechanisms for dealing with extremely sandy, excessively well-drained soils, or rocky cold soils in which moisture is limited to months at a time. Following is a list of low water use plants from various parts of the country:

*Always check with your local State extension service when selecting plants to avoid the potential of selecting a plant that is considered invasive in your particular location.

North West
Saskatoon serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia)
Blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis)
Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum)
Oregon white oak (Quercus garryanna)

South West
Four-wing saltbush (Atriplex canescens)
Fairy Duster (Calliandra eriophylla)
Penstemon (Penstemon spp.)
Pinyon pine (Pinus edulis)

North Central
Aromatic aster (Aster oblongifolius)
Sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula)
Bluegrama (Bouteloua gracilis)
Pale purple coneflower (Echinacea pallida)
Compass plant (Silphium laciniatum)

South Central
Aromatic aster (Aster oblongifolius)
Sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula)
Bluegrama (Bouteloua gracilis)
Tall blasing star (Liatris aspera)
Bur oak (Quercus macrocarpus)
Aromatic sumac (Rhus aromatica)

North East
Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)
Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
Blazing star (Liatris spicata)
Pitch pine (Pinus rigida)
Beach plum (Prunus serotina)

South East
Tall blazing star (Liatris aspera)
Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris)
Sand Live oak (Quercus germinata)
Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)
Compass plant (Silphium laciniatum)

Fast Facts:

  • Ground covers are good alternatives where turfgrasses are impractical.
  • Suitable places for ground covers include narrow strips between sidewalks or structures and steep slopes where mowing is not practical.
  • Consider ground covers other than grasses on hot, dry exposures, as well as for dense shade beneath trees and shrubs.
  • Improve soils before planting ground covers.


References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon International

The International Sustainability Council

The US Environmental Protection Agency

Organic Farming Research Foundation

United States Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service

Natural Resources Defense Council

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A Coalition for Good - Spreading the Seeds of Sustainability

ISC-Audubon is a coalition of non-profit organizations and initiatives that include The International Sustainability Council (ISC), Audubon Lifestyles, Audubon Outdoors, Planit Green, Broadcast Audubon, and the Audubon Network for Sustainability. 

Funds generated through memberships and donations are used to provide fruit & vegetable seeds, wildflower seed mix, and wildlife feed & birdseed to urban and suburban communities around the world. These seeds are used by communities to establish fruit and vegetable gardens, bird and wildlife sanctuaries, and for the beautification of urban and suburban landscapes by creating flower and native plant gardens.

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