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

Volunteers Help Deploy Oyster Bags In Salt Marsh

Nov 6th, 2014 | Category: MDC News, Oyster Restoration News, Shoreline Restoration News

Marine Discovery CenterEighteen volunteers helped deploy more than 400 oyster bags last month in the Living Shoreline Demonstration Area of the Mosquito Lagoon Marine Enhancement Center. The workers deployed the bags on October 24, strategically placing them in the Living Shoreline area, as well as along the northern perimeter of the restored salt marsh.

Constructed by Marine Discovery Center (MDC) volunteers, the oyster bags will help stabilize parts of the marsh’s shoreline once construction has been completed. When the restored marsh is opened to the public in mid-November, visitors to the Living Shoreline Demonstration Area will be able to observe options and learn how different methods of shoreline landscaping are available to waterfront residents.

The Living Shoreline Area will display such waterfront options as the use of: coquina (rock) rip rap; coquina rip rap with native salt-water herbaceous plants and oyster bags/oyster mats; a concrete seawall with native plants; a retaining wall with native plants; and terracing with native plants. The display area is designed to showcase options for visitors and to also educate shoreline residents about the natural occurrence of oyster reefs, estuarine cord grasses, such as spartina, and mangrove trees in the waters of the Indian River Lagoon.

In addition to stable shorelines offering protection for waterfront property, guests to the MDC’s Living Shoreline area also will learn how these shorelines provide habitats for wildlife and nurseries for juvenile fish. The Indian River Lagoon is home to more than 700 species of fish and its role as an estuary is to serve as the “nursery” to the Atlantic Ocean.

Construction of sea walls or the use of rip rap have long been used for shoreline erosion control, but these methods have often proved to be costly, as well as disruptive to natural habitat and native estuarine species.

“The Living Shoreline Demonstration Area is a unique opportunity to view side-by-side shorelines that utilize different stabilization techniques,” said Chad Truxall, Marine Discovery Center Executive Director. “In addition, educational displays will provide a cost/benefit analysis of the different techniques, while showcasing the unique flora and fauna that inhabit the Indian River Lagoon.”

Visitors to the Living Shoreline display will be able to view long-term shoreline options using native plants and oyster reefs that will expand and grow naturally without disruption or negative impact on naturally occurring species.

To learn more about the Living Shoreline Demonstration Area and waterfront options, visit the Marine Discovery Center. The grand opening of the Mosquito Lagoon marine Enhancement Center is open to the public and will be held Nov. 18, at 10 a.m.

-By Lisa D. Mickey   

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