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Save Crystal River, Inc.

Save Crystal River is a non-profit organization comprised of local residents and business owners with the common goal to restore Crystal River to its native beauty by removing an aggressive algae, Lyngbya, and other muck and debris and planting native “Rockstar” and “Salty Dog” eelgrass.

Removing decades of organic waste and tons of choking Lyngbya is slow, careful work.  It’s all done under the watchful eye of Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection. Then we plant several species of eelgrass, cover it with protective cages for the first year, and come back regularly to clean the cages and spot clean our work.  We monitor for another two years after the first.  We are giving lasting change a chance, and it’s working.

Before we can restore the ecosystem, we remove decades of death and decay.  We take away dead material (sometimes many feet deep) and clean down to the sand, opening spring vents and removing nitrogen and phosphorous with commercial-grade machinery.

Once the sandy bottom is cleared, Save Crystal River plants “eelgrass” or “tape grass” (Vallisneria americana). This plant has been cultivated in clean conditions so that we do not introduce unintended organisms.  Two varieties, “Rock Star” and more salt-tolerant “Salty Dog”, will spread by rhizomes and flower seed, establishing habitat for fish, crabs, and invertebrates.

When we finish planting, we are not done at all.  For a year we return to spot clean the cages about every month, ensuring the grass is growing.  We remove additional Lyngbya, and maintain records on our progress, monitoring each location for three full years.

Together we can Save Crystal River! With a donation of only $10 we can plant another native eelgrass plant that will grow to spawn thousands more in King’s Bay!
Donations can be made securely through the platform of your choice at www.savecrystalriver.com/donate