Avoidance and Minimization of Potential Impacts to Seagrass Communities in Broward County, Florida Resulting from Docks and Related Over-water Structures

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

Second Degree Name

M.S. Coastal Zone Management

First Advisor

Donald McCorquodale

Second Advisor

Steffen Schmidt

Third Advisor

Kent Smith


This paper provides a summary of the information currently available on the potential impacts of over-water structures, primarily docks, on seagrasses, with an emphasis on the issues and seagrass species of importance in Broward County (Broward), Florida. For comparison, this paper will also examine the impacts to seagrasses in other coastal areas of the United States and how the state and local regulatory agencies are addressing those impacts. Avoidance and minimization of impacts to seagrass resources associated with over-water structures will be discussed and recommendations as to which of the criteria examined in other research should be used in permitting docks in Broward will be made. In summary, the objectives of this paper are:

(1) to provide a brief description and general ecology of the seagrasses of South Florida, and their response to shading from over-water structures;

(2) to present an overview of recent research examining various dock design alternatives and their impacts to seagrass;

(3) to recommend ways to avoid and minimize impacts to seagrasses associated with over-water structures in Broward County; and

(4) to examine the current dock regulations of other coastal counties within Florida and, using the above recommendations, suggest revisions to Section 27-337(b)(1-4) of the Broward County Code of Ordinances.

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