Boca Raton restoring native plants at Red Reef, South Beach Parks

Boca Raton is working to improve the environmental health of its beaches by removing invasive plant species and replacing them with native ones at Red Reef and South Beach Parks.

The initiative is in collaboration with the Institute for Regional Conservation (IRC).

Invasive species can take over native plants, resulting in diminished biodiversity, habitat loss, and food sources for native insects and animals, the city said. This ecological imbalance also jeopardizes the strength of dunes and other coastal ecosystems.

“By eliminating invasive exotic species and replacing them with native plants,” Boca Raton Sustainability Manager Lindsey Roland Nieratka said, “we are enhancing the dune systems and providing a better habitat for native wildlife and pollinators.”

The invasive species targeted for removal are often introduced as ornamental plants found in landscaping, or as house plants, the city said. The beach naupaka, oyster plant, and bowstring-hemp will be replaced with an array of native coastal strand and beach dune plants, including two endangered and threatened species in Florida: sea lavender and inkberry.

The city has two upcoming events where volunteers of all ages can carry out the work of removal, digging holes, replanting and watering:

Saturday, August 19 | 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. at Red Reef Park

Saturday, September 30 | 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. at South Beach Park

To register to volunteer, click here.

For more information on the city’s beach sustainability initiative, click here.

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