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FGCU, Local Volunteers Begin Reef Construction Saturday
7/14/2006

FORT MYERS, FL - Florida Gulf Coast University scientists and local volunteers begin reef construction and restoration in the Caloosahatchee Estuary 9 a.m., Saturday, July 15 at Shell Point Community Village.

Workers begin restoration efforts in the Estero Bay 9 a.m., Saturday, July 22 at the Carl Johnson boat ramp opposite Lovers Key State Park.

FGCU scientists in collaboration with local, state and federal agencies are involved in a project that creates and restores oyster-shell reefs in Estero Bay and the tidal Caloosahatchee River.

Through public education and involvement, the project attempts to restore and enhance oyster reefs in Southwest Florida and Western Everglades estuaries, thereby improving water quality as well as habitat availability.

Work involves loading fossil oyster shells into wire mesh bags, transporting them and placing them in strategic points in the estuaries that attract natural oyster spat (larvae) and eventually form reefs.

The second phase of reef-restoration efforts will include "oyster gardening" by local citizens living along canals and rivers. Floating cages and juvenile oysters will be given to volunteers who will suspend the cages in water, and monitor growth and survival of juveniles. At the end of one year, volunteers will collect the oysters and seed them on constructed reefs.

A workshop for oyster gardening will be held fall 2006.

For more information, contact associate professor of marine science Aswani Volety at (239) 590-7216 or avolety@fgcu.edu.


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