"To protect and restore the Florida coastal and Indian River Lagoon ecosystems
through education, research and community stewardship."

A Shuckin’ Good Summer!

Oct 3rd, 2015 | Category: Oyster Restoration News

IMG_20150404_104441966As the temperatures are starting to fall, our busy summer is finally starting to cool off as well. 

This summer Marine Discovery Center staff and volunteers accomplished so much in the area of restoration!

Over the course of the last year we created 2,700 oyster bags, and 1,026 oyster mats to be used in shoreline restoration events around the state. Of the bags created, 100% have already been deployed in Canaveral National Seashore or Merritt Island. The mats have been earmarked for restoration events in early 2016. 

This past year, 684 volunteers have dedicated 1304.5 hours to making, transporting, and deploying oyster restoration materials. 8

MDC staff and volunteer participation in living shoreline deployments with University of Central Florida in Canaveral National Seashore yielded 248 meters of shoreline restored using 997 Spartina alterniflora plugs, 248 young mangrove trees, and 1,185 oyster bags. In addition, staff and volunteers participated in the restoration of 6 decimated oyster reefs by placing more than 3,805 oyster mats. The mats will give baby oyster larvae, known as spat, a place to settle. Once the oyster larvae have settled on the mats, they will grow into a new oyster reef. On average, 93 baby oysters will attach onto a single oyster mat. Amazingly, a single oyster can filter over 50 gallons of water a day, which begs the question… How many gallons of water can these 6 restored reefs filter in a single day when they are mature reefs? the number is mind boggling! 

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To date, 160,126 pounds of oyster shells have been donated by 14 local restaurants, seafood festivals, and private citizens. Of that, 107,954 pounds have been recycled this year, almost double what was recycled in 2014. In this quarter alone, 26,570 pounds were recycled through Shuck and Share. This recycling could not be done without the help of WastePro USA and a few dedicated volunteers who tolerated the smell of oyster shells baking in the hot Florida sun!

We’ve put in a lot of good work this summer, but we’re not done yet! As we roll into a new grant cycle with the help from funding from St. John’s Water Management District and wonderful sponsors such as WastePro USA  we continue to bag oyster shells and transport materials. Are you interested in helping create history and a sustainable tomorrow? Join us for bagging events every first Saturday of the month from 9am-12pm in the back oyster lot. We have a shuckin’ good time!