Mangroves are tropical trees that grow in tidal areas and are vital to the ecology of Florida. Both the State of Florida and the City of Sanibel recognize the importance of mangroves and have established laws for their protection.
The State of Florida has delegated authority to the City of Sanibel to regulate the trimming and alteration of mangroves on the Island. Notification to the City of Sanibel is always required before taking any action involving mangroves. Inspection by the City’s Natural Resources staff before and after trimming mangroves ensures the law is being correctly interpreted and applied.
The three types of mangroves are:
- Red Mangrove - Rhizophora mangle
- Black Mangrove - Avicennia germinans
- White Mangrove - Laguncularia racemosa
Mangroves are extremely valuable because:
- They provide essential habitat for more than 80 percent of the finfish and shellfish that are sought by commercial and sports fishermen.
- Their decomposing leaves and detritus are the basis of the marine food chain and account almost entirely for an estuary’s productivity.
- They block wind and wave energy during storms and stabilize soil with their roots, protecting upland property.
- They improve water quality through uptake of nutrients.
- They are used by herons, egrets and other wading birds as roosting and nesting sites.
Shoreline owners have a unique opportunity to directly participate in the stewardship of Sanibel’s marine environment by understanding that there are many ways that a reasonable view of the water may be obtained without injuring or killing mangroves. By doing so, mangroves remain healthy and continue to provide valuable benefits to our coastal waters.
An inspection by the City’s Natural Resources staff is ALWAYS required prior to trimming mangroves. Mangroves greater than 10 feet in height may only be trimmed by a Professional Mangrove Trimmer.