May 14 2021 Update


Homosassa River Restoration Project had divers back in the water April 1, 2021. The removal of Lyngbya, muck, and other detrital material is progressing smoothly though perhaps a bit slower than we had hoped. While cleaning the Spring Cove Canal (Area “B”) there were some issues with clay mixed in with the muck which made it difficult for both the divers and the worksite crews when it came to filtering and returning clean water to the river. These issues were resolved and the canal was finished last week. Map, phase, areas

On Tuesday May 11th we were fortunate to have a tide low enough to move the barge and pump equipment under the Fishbowl Drive bridge. Operations are now underway directly in front of the Homosassa Springs State Park observation platform. You can see the barge as you drive over the bridge. This crew will be joined by a second barge and group of divers next week. The expectation is that Area’s “C” and “D” will be cleaned by early June 2021.


As you already know our contractor, Sea & Shoreline, installed 11,000 grass pods just before ending operations November 1, 2020 for the winter manatee season. Yes there has been loss of grass. Mostly due to people standing and walking as well as damage from boat propellers. There are, however, areas that are thriving.  The type of grass we are planting prefers to grow out laterally at first and staying short. As it gets thicker it will begin to compete with itself and start to get longer and taller. Our biologists are also finding grasses that have been covered by muck for years and dormant but the cleaning efforts have made conditions right and they are able to grow once again.

New grasses

This will not be an overnight process. It has taken Save Crystal River several years to achieve the amount of grass meadows they now have. While HRRP believes we can make it happen quicker than that it will not be an easy task. The Lyngbya will not give up willingly. Manatee’s, turtles, fish all love to eat the grasses as well.  It will be a struggle to get ahead of the curve but we will be successful. New grass planting will begin in Area “B” around May 15, 2021


But why is there still some muck and Lyngbya in the already cleaned areas? Part of our contract with Sea & Shoreline is periodic maintenance of previously cleaned and planted areas. Keep in mind that this is a natural spring and river system and not Disney World. The divers, as hard as they try, will never get all of the bad stuff on the first clean. Tides, wind, and currents will always be working to move Lyngbya and debris back into completed areas. The key is to give the grasses a fighting chance to push out the Lyngbya and thrive on their own.


All documentation has been filed with both the Department of Environmental Protection and Army Corp to permit the restoration process up to the confluence of the Homosassa River and the Halls River. The hope is that the process of securing the permits will move along much faster than last year.


The divers, biologists, and support personnel of Sea and Shoreline who joined us for a night off and a little food and fun These are the hard working folks helping us restore the Homosassa River.