The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is partnering with China’s Rilin Group to help restore 225 acres of mangroves in Collier County.
The group has committed $5 million to restore and monitor the mangrove forest at Fruit Farm Creek within the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (RBNERR).
The project’s first phase, which entailed permitting, engineering and design, site surveys, vegetation clearing, excavation and fill removal, was completed in 2012 and included funding from private donations, a grant from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and in-kind donations from local businesses.
Partners on the project include: Coastal Resources Group, Inc. (the project manager), the Ecology Group, Evans Engineering, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, the city of Marco Island, Friends of Rookery Bay and China’s Rilin Group.
Mangroves are instrumental in protecting Florida shoreline and providing habitat for marine life that are the basis of the $7.6-billion fishing industry, which employs 109,000 people.
The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve encompasses 110,000 acres of coastal lands and waters on the Gulf Coast of Florida in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.