Plant 30 hectares of mangroves with 100 plants per ha
Protect 450 hectares of existing mangroves
Protect 7000 ha of Zostera marina seagrass beds
Conduct ex situ propagation trials
During the first phase of this project the team collected mangrove pods, propagated them in low-cost, innovative vertical nurseries and transplanted thousands of seedlings during a period of four months during 2020-21. To improve the survival rate of the seedlings, a team of 20 Comcaac will extend the cultivation period to one year to grow larger, hardier plants and expand the nursery to accommodate the growth of larger plants. Mangrove pods will be collected for propagation during late summer 2022.
In the fall of 2023, the team will transplant between 1,000-1,500 24-inch plants over 10-15 hectares in protected areas where sea level rise is anticipated to erode or inundate tidal mudflats. The team will monitor the growth of these plants and repeat this process in 2024 to reach a goal of 20-30 hectares of established mangrove plants. To support a restorative economy and create conservation-based jobs, we will assess the feasibility of growing and selling mangrove plants to support mangrove restoration initiatives by organizations in the region.
During the first phase of this project, we planted Zostera marina in situ using rhizomes and seed packets. The feasibility of this strategy is limited due the strong currents and tides that characterize the Infiernillo channel coupled with the logistical complexity and costs involved. We will focus on biocultural conservation to protect the existing 7,000 ha of Zostera marina.
During this next phase, we will shift to ex situ propagation as we learn more about optimal conditions for propagation in the future. To better understand how the strong tidal movements impact eelgrass establishment we will establish eelgrass monitoring stations, installing instruments to monitor water column height, temperature, and light available for seagrasses. We will assess the success of existing propagation areas and measure the degree to which the annual seagrass beds are migrating from year to year and the dispersal patterns in shallow shoals. This knowledge will not only help us better understand the conditions for propagation in the channel, but also the amount of biomass production that contributes to carbon sequestration.