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The littoral zone is the area near the shoreline where sunlight penetrates all the way to the bottom and allows aquatic plants to grow. Littoral zones are present in both fresh and saltwater environments.
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Stormwater ponds capture the stormwater runoff from the surrounding area, along with many of the pollutants like excess nutrients found in fertilizers, pet waste, and yard debris.
Aquatic plants in the littoral zone can improve water quality by removing excess nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen from stormwater runoff. The plants then use these nutrients to grow and remain healthy. This can help improve water clarity and prevent algal blooms. These native plants also stabilize the banks to prevent erosion and provide habitat for wildlife.
Excess nutrients entering the Indian River Lagoon have been attributed to a reduction in the amount of seagrass in the lagoon. Seagrasses are essential to the lagoon and serve as the primary indicator of the lagoon’s overall health.
Excess nutrients can cause algae blooms and aquatic weed growth which can block needed sunlight from the water and rob the water of oxygen, killing plants, fish, wildlife and may even trigger human health concerns. By removing some of these nutrients upstream, prior to the runoff leaving the pond, those pollutants will never enter the Lagoon.
Littoral zone and shoreline buffers can be an effective means of filtering out pollutants around many types of waterbodies including:
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