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FGCU Lecture Series Will Tackle The Health of Florida’s Mangroves This Week

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The FGCU lecture series focuses on the condition of Florida’s publicly-owned mangroves this week.

As part of a lecture on Thursday, Robin Lewis, president of the Coastal Resources Group, says he’ll explain why funding cuts and bad management have left the state’s mangroves in a bad place. He says the state’s mangroves are in bad health and are vulnerable to what he compares to ecological “heart attacks.”

“The current condition—which is the bad news—is that the state of Florida particularly the Fish and Wildlife Commission has let mangrove management fly into its present, what I consider to be, horrible state,” Lewis says.

He says it’s a serious issue because mangroves are important to the state’s water quality and fish population. Lewis says fish important to Collier County’s ecosystem and economy—such as snook and grey snapper— has already been affected by the mangroves.

“The reason for those species being in trouble and having a declining population, in my opinion, is because of these very subtle damages to mangroves that have occurred over time and have been largely unacknowledged by most of the managers in Tallahassee,” Lewis explains.

Lewis says that land use practices and piecemeal restoration projects are also to blame for the declining health of the state’s mangroves.

Florida has about half a million acres of mangroves—most of which are publicly owned. A quarter of those acres are in Collier County.

Lewis will be speaking as part of the FGCU lecture series at 7 p.m. at the Harvey Kapnick Education and Research Center at the Naples Botanical Garden. 

Ashley Lopez is a reporter forWGCUNews. A native of Miami, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a journalism degree.