Aquatic Plants of Florida


Case Studies



This purpose of this 2006 research project was to determine how coastal vegetation such as sea oats and panic grass respond to growth in recycled glass cullet sediment mixtures, a factor needed to evaluate the viability and effectiveness of alternative sediment mixtures in beach renourishment projects worldwide.


Recent studies have shown that recycled glass (cullet) contains the same properties as natural beach sand and is a suitable alternative for beach restoration activities. This study investigates beach vegetation growth in a recycled glass cullet matrix.

The ongoing research is being conducted by Coastal Planning & Engineering, Inc. (CPE) in cooperation with the Gumbo Limbo Native Center and Broward County. Aquatic Plants of Florida, Inc. (APF), a project sponsor, donates the dune vegetation.


APF’s coastal plants have successfully grown in the recycled glass cullet matrix.

The research, which was presented by CPE at the Coastal Sediments ’07 Conference, was expected to continue with additional experimental planting plots in more mixtures of cullet-natural sand.



In early 2006, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection began a project in the State’s coastal recreation areas to stabilize and rebuild beach structures and habitats damaged or destroyed during the active 2004 hurricane season.

The State of Florida maintains 159 recreational and educational parks, ranking among the country’s largest state park systems. These parks serve as protected habitats for wildlife and act as major attractions for visitors. Florida state parks (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/parks/) have received multiple awards of excellence from the National Recreation and Parks Association.

Dune revegetation services were solicited from Aquatic Plants of Florida, Inc.  (APF) to provide suitable groundcover plantings and sea oats installations at five parks located in the Florida Panhandle. They were Perdido Key State Park, 15 miles southwest of Pensacola, a 247-acre barrier island near Pensacola on the Gulf of Mexico; Grayton Beach State Park, located in Walton County; St Andrews Beach State Park, 3 miles east of Panama City Beach, across West Bay from Tyndall Air Force Base; St George Island, offshore from the town of Eastpoint in Franklin County, Florida; and St Joseph Peninsula State Park, located at the northern tip of a coastal barrier peninsula extending from Cape San Blas in Gulf County, Florida.

The scope of this project was larger than any other in the state’s history; therefore, it required significant preparation and planning. APF subsequently worked with the Bureau of Natural and Cultural Resources, the Division of Recreation and Parks, the Florida Park Service and engineering and planning firm PBS&J on this initiative.

Special project considerations included a revised planting schedule; a new beach topography survey after the 2005 hurricane season to adjust for position and elevation considerations due to storm impact; cold weather influences during the contract growing period; and Tropical Storm Alberto during the plant installation phase.


Four coastal plant species were designated and contract grown by APF for planting in each of the five parks. These included: Uniola paniculata (Sea Oats), Panicum amarum (Panic Grass), Spartina patens (Marsh Hay Cordgrass or Salt Meadow Cordgrass) and Schizachyrium maritimum (Gulfcoast Bluestem)

APF’s average project installation rate was 40,000 plants per day, for a final total of 2,907,000 salt-tolerant plants installed.


The project began May 1, 2006 and was completed July 25, 2006, more than one month ahead of the August 31, 2006 scheduled completion date.