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FGCU, local volunteers begin reef construction April 3

By Staff | Mar 22, 2010

Florida Gulf Coast University scientists and local volunteers begin reef construction and restoration in Estero Bay on Saturday, April 3. Volunteers will meet at Carl Johnson State Park Boat ramp in the picnic area opposite Lover’s Key State Park at 9 a.m.

FGCU scientists, Lee County and West Coast Inland Navigation District – in collaboration with local, state and federal agencies – are involved in a project that creates and restores oyster reefs in Estero Bay (200 square meters), thereby improving water quality, habitat availability, as well as protecting shoreline and mangrove erosion.

Now in its seventh year, the project 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.

Within one year, the 200 square meters of oyster reef created at this event will produce more than 1,000 oysters per square meter, filter at least 10 liters of water and particulates per oyster per hour from the water column, provide stability to mangroves shorelines by minimizing the impact of boat wakes, and provide food, shelter and habitat to nearly 300 species of invertebrates, fishes and birds.

For more information on this project, contact professor of Marine and Environmental Science Aswani Volety, chair of Marine and Ecological Sciences, at 239-590-7216 or avolety@fgcu.edu.

Source: FGCU