The Kings Bay Cleanup and Restoration scheme in Crystal River is moving ahead with a patent pending vacuum dredging removal process that removes legacy nutrients, organic detrital material and the Lyngbya, an invasive algae that has choked out native plants.
For years, residents have tried different removal methods, but the Lyngbya has spread and covered the clean sand on the bottom.
The first step of this cleanup program, developed by Gator Dredging, is removing the Lyngbya through specially designed vacuum equipment that doesn’t disturb the existing sand and sediment. The suctioned material is pumped through vacuum tubes into a mechanical separator located on shore.
The separator does what its name implies — separates the algae and other organic material from the water.
The water is further filtered then returned to the canal with the added bonus that much of the legacy nitrates and phosphorus are removed and clean water is being returned to the ecosystem. This is important because it removes a nutrient source for the Lyngbya, increasing the competitive advantage for the newly planted native plants.
The algae and organic material are transported to an offsite location where it will be used for fertilizer and soil enrichment.
Check out this video which shows many interesting details about the King’s Bay cleanup scheme: