Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership Melissa Laser Award
Eric Anderson, a senior environmental analyst with the Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management, recently received the 2018 Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership Melissa Laser Award. The award recognizes individuals who demonstrate exemplary support of fish habitat conservation.
Since 2007, Anderson has led the design, construction, monitoring and management of 10 large-scale estuarine habitat restoration projects in Lake Worth Lagoon. His work has focused on restoration of seagrass and mangrove habitats by creating in-water habitat islands.
The Grassy Flats project, endorsed by ACFHP in 2012, exemplifies Anderson’s talents in managing all of the challenges of a successful restoration project. Grassy Flats is a 12-acre, $3.7 million seagrass, mangrove, oyster and tidal marsh restoration project that included multiple partners and grants. The project employed innovative construction methods, including use of a “sand-shooter” to compact and bury accumulated benthic muck. Monitoring of fish, wildlife and vegetation two years after the completion of the project shows it is successfully providing habitat and being utilized by a diverse suite of native fish and wildlife. The Grassy Flats project has proved to be resilient, successfully withstanding the impacts of Hurricane Irma in 2017. Anderson is currently developing two large-scale projects that will create additional mangrove and seagrass habitats similar to Grassy Flats.
Palm Beach County has earned a reputation of excellence in estuarine restoration, largely due to Anderson’s hard work and dedication.