Tampa Bay oyster restoration picks up pace
CCA Florida, BCT, and CCA Music City join effort to build new reef on 2D Island
With one oyster restoration project recently launched on nearby Fantasy Island, plans are in the works for another project to install new oyster reefing on the eastern shoreline of Spoil Island 2D in Tampa Bay. Coastal Conservation Association Florida, the Building Conservation Trust, CCA Music City Chapter and Tampa Bay Watch, in partnership with the NOAA Restoration Center and the Port of Tampa Bay, have joined forces to improve water quality and enhance marine habitat in the Bay.
“What makes these projects so unique is that this is marine habitat restoration in an urban setting. The people who live and work here in Tampa Bay can help build these reefs and see what a healthy oyster population can do when it gets a helping hand from projects like these,” said Don Roberts of CCA Florida. “As a keystone species, oysters are critical to a healthy estuary environment, and they are the key to restoring Tampa Bay.”
The Bay has suffered extensive losses of oyster communities over the last 100 years, and the 2D Island project is part of an ongoing effort by conservationists to build new communities to fill the void. As filter feeders, oysters improve water quality and help stabilize shorelines, providing optimal conditions for the growth of salt marsh plants and mangroves. Oyster reefs also provide habitat for various species of fish and wildlife that frequent coastal and estuarine shorelines, and are a favorite target of anglers. For this project, a total of 12,107 square feet of oyster communities will be created along approximately 3,400 feet of shoreline.
CCA’s national habitat program, the Building Conservation Trust, CCA Florida and the CCA Music City Chapter have committed to fund $25,000 for construction of the new reefs. Confirming that healthy marine ecosystems are a priority for anglers everywhere, funding from the CCA Music City Chapter event in Nashville, Tennessee, has been applied to both the Fantasy Island and 2D Island projects.
“With projects like these that engage the local community and really demonstrate what it means to be a steward of the resource, you realize the incredible potential of the recreational angling community to enhance large areas of our coast over time,” said Sean Stone, executive director of the Building Conservation Trust. “We are proud to be a part of this effort and excited about the possibilities for both the resource and for fishermen in this area.”