(Brooksville, FL) Earlier this year, the Coastal Conservation Association Florida (CCA) joined efforts with area restaurants to recycle oyster shells for habitat enhancement. On Tuesday, October 17, 2017, the CCA donated five tons of these recycled oyster shells for a habitat enhancement project at Centipede Bay, located in Hernando County's coastal waters.
Every few weeks, oyster shells are collected from local restaurants and transported to a quarantine facility where they dry out for a minimum of three months - a common practice used to prevent any outside organisms or diseases from being introduced into an area. The shells from this donation will be used to fill mesh bags, which will later be deployed to form the base of an oyster reef at a permitted site in Centipede Bay. Juvenile oysters within the area will naturally settle on the bags and begin to grow and expand into three-dimensional reefs.
This habitat enhancement project is a partnership among Hernando County Aquatic Services Division, Florida Sea Grant, UF/IFAS Extension Hernando County, University of Florida, Hernando County Port Authority and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Coastal Partnership Initiative. Hernando County staff will be assisting with deployment of the bagged shells. In the upcoming months, volunteers will be sought to help fill and deploy oyster bags. For additional details, contact Florida Sea Grant Agent Brittany Hall-Scharf (352) 754-4433 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Florida Sea Grant is a university-based program that supports research, education, and extension to conserve coastal resources and enhance economic opportunities for the people of Florida. They are a partnership between the Florida Board of Education, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and Florida's citizens and governments. Our extension, education and outreach programs are done in partnership with UF/IFAS Extension and coastal communities.