FGCU, Local Volunteers Begin Reef Construction Saturday
Florida Gulf Coast University scientists and local volunteers will begin reef construction and restoration in the Caloosahatchee River 9 a.m., Saturday, March 27 at the Punta Rassa boat ramp.
Workers will begin restoration efforts in Estero Bay 9 a.m., Saturday, April 3 at the picnic area opposite Lover's 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.
The project though public education and involvement, attempts to restore and enhance oyster reefs in Southwest Florida and Western Everglades estuaries, thereby improving water quality as well as habitat availability.
The project will also assess the suitability of other locations within the lower Charlotte Harbor estuary for the enhancement of existing oyster bars or for the restoration of historic bars.
The project that was initiated last year with the help of over 150 community volunteers was a success.
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.
For more information, contact associate professor of marine science Aswani Volety at (239) 590-7216 or firstname.lastname@example.org