(September 10, 2016) --

The Dauphin Island Sea will be the recipient of more than $80,000 in grant monies with the U.S. Department of the Interior's National Park Service.

A $30,558 agreement to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab will aid in continuing the monitoring of seagrass resources at the Gulf Islands National Seashore in Mississippi and Florida.

Seagrasses are a submerged vegetation that is vital to the health of the estuary. The seagrass provides food for grazing animals and a nursery for juvenile fish and other aquatic wildlife.

"The health of the seagrasses have been pretty stable the last few years," Dr. Ken Heck, who oversees the program at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, said. "We monitor to ensure the submerged vegetation natural resources of the park are healthy."

This will be the sixth consecutive year for the monitoring program.

The second grant, $52,427, will go to restoring seagrass on the south side of the Naval Live Oaks Preserve in Santa Rosa Sound in Santa Rosa County, Florida.

Dr. Heck said the restoration team will harvest the fast growing shoal grass from a nearby area. Once transplanted, the area will be monitored for about a year.