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Yards along Phillippi Creek.

Do you live on the water and want to see more fish, wading birds and other wildlife?  The Sarasota Bay Fisheries Forum—a coalition of community members, scientists, resource managers and others who love fish—seeks to enhance qualified waterfront properties to support aquatic life.

Would your waterfront property benefit from mangroves, other vegetation or related enhancements that attract fish to stay, feed and shelter their young?

Scientists have found that fish move right into appropriately enhanced habitats. For instance, artificial reef structures can draw fish within hours of deployment. Planted areas in lakes or along creek banks are known to have far greater numbers of fish than open water, and juvenile snook will spend significantly more time at shorelines with vegetation than those without it. Your waterfront property may be one of those special places that increases the overall fish population, or it might be enhanced to do so with strategic improvements.

Project partners include Dr. Ryan Schloesser of Mote Marine Laboratory, Mollie Holland of the Sarasota County Neighborhood Environmental Stewardship Team and Darcy Young with the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program. Together with the Sarasota Bay Fisheries Forum, they will try to identify what kind of improvement is right for your property.

Learn more about the Sarasota Bay Fisheries Forum at facebook.com/SarasotaBayForum. Waterfront residents in Sarasota and Manatee counties: To learn whether your yard is a candidate for these free, fish-friendly plantings, contact Dr. Ryan Schloesser at rschloesser@mote.org.

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