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Spotlight on documentary ‘Missing Meadows: Restoring Florida’s Seagrasses’


The Fort Myers Film Festival will screen a number of environmental films this year, including three by filmmaker Sonny DePasquale.

During the 3:00 p.m. Global Environmental Block 1, FMff will show Missing Meadows: Restoring Florida’s Seagrass. The subject of this 7-minute documentary is Florida’s Indian River Lagoon, one of the most biodiverse estuaries in North America.

This coastal estuary is denoted by acres of seagrass, flowering saltwater plants that live in the shallow areas of the estuarine system. Seagrasses are essential as a nursery for juvenile fish, a habitat for shrimp and other animals, and a staple food for endangered manatees. Just two and a half acres of seagrass can support as many as 100,000 fish and 100 million invertebrates (such as worms, clams and snails). In addition, seagrass adds dissolved oxygen to the water so aquatic animals can breathe.

Sadly, the 156-acre lagoon has lost as much as 95 percent of its seagrass in the last 40 years according to a University of Florida report. The culprit: nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, which spur the growth of algae. Because algae grows faster than seagrass, it quickly chokes out large swaths of the life-sustaining seagrass. The Florida Oceanographic Society is working to solve this environmental issue by restoring the seagrass in the lagoon and monitoring the water quality.

May 8, 2022

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