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

Mat Inspectors at Work

Apr 7th, 2014 | Category: Blogs, Oyster Restoration News, Shoreline Restoration News

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On Saturday, April 5, a dozen volunteers came out to the Marine Discovery Center to accomplish two jobs. Some volunteers worked on inspecting oyster mats while others shoveled shell to create oyster bags for lagoon restoration.

All the oyster mats created through the Shuck and Share oyster recycling project go through a Quality Control phase, where they are double checked by a different volunteer than the one that originally created the mat. This ensures that mats have the right number and configuration of shells, and that the shells are attached securely. In just a few hours, the hard-working crew gave the green light to 56 oyster mats, approving them for deployment into the lagoon.

Meanwhile, several folks shoveled donated oyster shells into large PVC pipes, filling up mesh bags to be used for shoreline restoration. The oyster bags, weighing around 30 pounds each, can be stacked strategically to create reef structures in heavily eroded areas. Efforts in the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve have shown that sediment will actually accumulate behind stacks of bags, allowing the beaches to rebuild and stabilize against erosive forces.

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The bags also serve as complex habitat for dozens of organisms and a place for larval oysters to settle and grow. In a matter of months after deployment, the oyster bags will become a living reef in the lagoon. Volunteers created 54 new oyster bags for use in local shoreline restoration projects. 

We’ll be making new oyster mats this weekend as part of our big event – **Lagoonacy** – on April 12th. Come check it out! Our friends at Brigadoon Fish Camp will have fresh oysters on the half shell and oyster stew for sale. There are many ways to contribute to the Shuck and Share oyster recycling project, so come show your support this Saturday at MDC!

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