Oysters and Sea-grass are a very important part of filtering our water in our rivers and bays. The Eastern Oyster’s job is to populate and to form inter-tidal reefs in the local estuary. They also keep our shorelines from washing out to sea by preventing erosion along with providing homes for our fish and invertebrates.
Right now there is an on going Oyster Restoration here on our local Island. It is currently at City of Sanibel boat ramp. Where volunteers are shoveling and bagging approximately 3,300 pounds of shell to try and save our oyster beds.
Due to harmful runoff it has cost us our oyster reef’s and sea-grasses. Losses that are critical to restore to bring our Riverbeds back up to the quality they were years ago before all the erosion. Heavy rainfall brings large amounts of freshwater and polluted wastewater runoff. These are coming from both Lake Okeechobee and watersheds which are causing all this poor health to the sea-grasses and the oyster beds.
Even with the help from DEP the SW FL. Water Management District along with Dept of Agricultural and Consumer Services and Local Government Agencies putting into play there best management practices. We still need help from local volunteers.
There are a number of local open water reefs with no animals on them that need to be targeted for new growth. This process requires manual labor to fill buckets with shell and then lifted onto a boat to be put in these specific sites. Hoping this will cause new oyster larvae to attach to the shell then grow along the reef till they meet and attached to one another.
Four of our local Sanibel Restaurants have joined forces to help collect oyster shells for the Marine lab undertaking. These four restaurants that are giving back to the community are Timbers, Lazy Flamingo, Fish House and Doc Ford’s. Along with them is another commercial operation out of Charlotte County providing bulk fossil shells for the project.
So if you are interested in volunteering these are the requirements. Must be 18 or older be able to lift 50lbs and most of all be able to work in the extreme conditions. The changes in the weather am verses noon rain verses sun. Along with a lot of bending pulling squatting and shoveling. Visit http://marinelab.sccf.org/signup/ and fill out the volunteer registration form.
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