Native Plants
Making shorelines healthier

A healthy shoreline can withstand the effects of storms (wave energy, erosion), and it provides essential habitat for shore-dwelling creatures. This program seeks to improve the quality of our coastal wetlands.

image: salt marsh and oyster bags on shoreline

About the native planting program

Coastal wetlands in the Tampa Bay area have suffered extensive damage due to the overwhelming amount of urban and industrial shoreline development, losing over 40% of historical coastal marsh habitat.

Native plants have numerous benefits for Tampa Bay and its marine and shoreline inhabitants:

  • Stabilizes shorelines and protects against erosion
  • Provides habitat for small fish and other creatures
  • Absorbs wave energy from storms
  • Filters pollutants and marine debris from entering our waterways.

The native planting program has evolved as restoration priorities are changing to accommodate for future sea-level rise and increased storm activity. The Tampa Bay area ranks in the top ten globally for most vulnerable cities to sea level rise. A small amount of natural coastal habitat can result in huge savings when it comes to storm protection. According to coastalresilience.org, 0.5 square miles of restored wetland habitat will avert approximately $37-252 million in damages in the Tampa Bay area.

Native planting projects are a tool for restoring our lost habitat and protecting our shorelines in the wake of a changing environment. Tampa Bay Watch utilizes native plants in a variety of restoration projects through community planting events and our Bay Grasses in Classes program.

Some of the plant species we use to help restore a variety of bay habitats

Salt Marsh

Spartina alterniflora

illustration: paspalum

Seashore Paspalum

Paspalum vaginatum

illustration: sea oat

Sea Oat

Union paniculate

illustration: black needlerush

Black Needlerush

Juncus roemerianus

Illustrations copyright Bazany Design.

Did you know...

Some of our marsh grasses come from an unusual group of donor sources! Click here to find out more.

For more information on resilient communities, check out Florida Sea Grant’s website.

Email Paige Lansky questions about this program:

plansky@tampabaywatch.org