Buffered Shorelines Minimize Lagoon Pollution
In 2021, Restore Our Shores (ROS) began to explore the possibility of using buffer zones to stop water runoff from entering the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) through waterfront property while at the same time engage the community in restoration.
What is a Buffer Zone?
A “buffer zone” utilizes native shoreline plants and mulch to create a barrier between lagoon-adjacent yards and the water, preventing fertilizer and yard clippings from washing out into the Lagoon. This filters pollutants, prevents erosion, reduces sedimentation and keeps excess nutrients from entering the lagoon, promoting healthy conditions for seagrass growth.
Buffer zones have other benefits, too. Buffer zones reduce the water consumption needed in a typical yard and removes the need for fertilizer, making this a sustainable solution to preventing IRL pollution and other harmful conditions such as algal blooms. These zones also benefit pollinators when native plants are added.
Create Your Own Buffer Zone
While the Zoo does not currently install buffer zones at private properties, we encourage residents who live along water to pursue the addition of a buffer zone as part of their landscape plan. This is a simple way to contribute to lagoon restoration.
To assist homeowners, the Zoo has two publicly accessible buffer zone sites at Oars and Paddles Park (Indian Harbour Beach) and Sand Point Park (Titusville). These parks are publicly accessible examples that can be used as a reference when designing private projects.
If you are interested in creating your own Buffer Zone, these are some resources that can help to make your home landscaping project a success:
Another Option - Create a Living Shoreline
A living shoreline refers to the use of vegetation, oyster reefs and other organic features to control erosion, reduce wave energy and improve water quality instead of the traditional hardened inorganic structures such as seawalls, bulkheads and rock revetments.
If your property has a natural shoreline, you can add shoreline protective measures to your property in addition to the buffer zone. Check out how you can help through Oyster Gardening, Clam Restoration, and Mangrove Planting.
We're Here to Help
Restore Our Shores needs your donations and/or volunteer time to reverse environmental damage. Take a look through our project sections to see the ways our volunteers are already helping. If you’re interested in learning more about Living Shorelines, sign up for our updates.