Council proclaims April 14, 2018 as Orange Beach Seagrass Day; preservation activities, education planned on islands

April 6, 2018
Orange Beach Seagrass Day proclamation

“It is in everyone’s interest to keep seagrass beds healthy.” So reads part of a proclamation by the Orange Beach City Council that declared Saturday, April 14, 2018 as Orange Beach Seagrass Day.

Spearheaded by the Islands of Perdido Foundation, preservation activities are planned on April 14 on the islands in Orange Beach and volunteers are needed.

The Islands of Perdido Foundation was formed to raise awareness and involvement in preserving Robinson Island and surrounding smaller islands (Bird, Walker, Rabbit, and Gilchrist) in Orange Beach, with emphasis on preservation, restoration, research, and education.

“Because of that proclamation we’re doing some press and some information campaigns,” said Tracy Holiday, a member of the Islands of Perdido Foundation. “We have a couple of education campaigns with our SOS (Save Our Seagrass) campaign. We’re going into the fifth grade and talking about the fact that seagrasses are the nurseries in our area for juvenile red fish and shellfish, and manatees come through there. So we’re doing a big outreach and we’re being a little more aggressive this year with our rental companies; we’re giving them more information. What we’re basically finding is that it’s not the locals that are running through the seagrass beds, it’s the rental companies and who they put on pontoon boats and jet skis. It’s not that they want to destroy the grass beds, it’s that they don’t understand that they are there and how precious they are.”

On Saturday, April 14, Holiday said the foundation is going to do a lot of information outreach.

Bill Jeffries, a foundation member, invited volunteers to come out on April 14 to help protect the nesting grounds of the birds as well.

“We’re going to be putting fencing in the ground nesting area to try to protect our little birds that nest on the islands,” Jeffries said during Tuesday’s council meeting. “If anybody can come and help us out it would be greatly appreciated.”

More information on the Islands of Perdido Foundation can be found at www.islandsofperdido.org.

The full proclamation by the Orange Beach City Council reads as follows:

Whereas, the seagrass beds of Orange Beach, Alabama, support a healthy local ecosystem and economy; and

Whereas, seagrass habitat is ranked number one in nursery value because they provide food and protection for juvenile fish and shellfish; and

Whereas, seagrass beds are a sanctuary throughout the life cycle of marine animals providing vital feeding and breeding grounds; and

Whereas, seagrass health is directly proportional to the health and status of many important commercial and recreational seafood species; and

Whereas, seagrass beds reduce the destructive impacts of storm surge and sea level rise; and

Whereas, manatee, turtles, sea horses, and many types of waterfowl feed on seagrass; and

Whereas, local businesses and the economy depend on the health of the seagrass beds to be profitable; and

Whereas, it is in everyone’s interest to keep seagrass beds healthy.

Now, therefore, be it proclaimed by the Orange Beach City Council and Mayor that April 14, 2018, is

ORANGE BEACH SEAGRASS DAY

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Seal of the City of Orange Beach, Alabama, this 3rd day of April, 2018.

Tony Kennon, Mayor