Habitat Restoration

Conservation/Habitat Restoration

As an organization, we have been extremely busy in 2018, leading a record number of habitat restoration and artificial reef projects around the state.  Together with the Building Conservation Trust (BCT), CCA National’s habitat program, and our many partners, we have made a positive impact on habitat restoration and water quality this year.

We remain focused on ensuring that all donated habitat funds are spent wisely on projects where the impact of poor water quality is at a minimum, and where expected positive outcomes are the highest.  Read below, and find a summary of habitat-related projects completed this year.

Starship Reef

This past October, CCA Florida joined together with BCT and Shell Oil Company and deployed approximately 1,500 tons of natural rock and concrete materials on the new Starship Reef off the coast of Jacksonville (30°10.177' N / 81°09.351' N).  The Starship Reef, now one of the largest reefs in northeast Florida, is located in 70 feet of water and 12 miles east of Mickler’s Beach.  Post-dives showed that the concrete piled up nicely, providing important vertical relief on the ocean floor.  It also showed that fish such as tomtates, black seabass and baitfish immediately occupied the reef.

These projects wouldn't be possible without major partnerships and financial support - this project alone had a cost of almost $200,000.  Thanks to Dames Point Workboats and Lambs Yacht Center for suppling the concrete reefing materials, and a huge shout out to Shell for their financial support, as well as donating 40,000 pounds of natural rock which was hauled from San Diego to Jacksonville this past June in their new Starship concept truck.  Special thanks also goes out to the City of Jacksonville and Joe Kistel with TISIRI for helping coordinate this enormous artificial reef project!

Indian River Lagoon (IRL) Spotted Seatrout Acoustic Study

CCA Florida donated $25,000, in addition to a $57,000 in-kind match, to fund a three-year study on the declining spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus)in the IRL, with the broad objective to determine spotted seatrout population spawning status and vulnerability to human and natural disturbance in the IRL.

Acoustic transects were conducted by anglers using underwater microphones (hydrophones) as trout choral displays only occur when they are spawning.  Anglers recorded underwater sounds at pre-determined channel marker transects over a six-month period in Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin Counties.

The acoustic recording portion of the project successfully kicked off in April 2018 and finished in September 2018 at the close of the spawning season.  A report by Dr. Grant Gilmore will be forthcoming, and the 2ndyear of acoustic recording study will begin in the Spring of 2019.  If you are interested in volunteering with future recordings, please contact Frank Gidus at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Heineken USA/CCA Florida Oyster Recycling Project

Thanks to a generous grant from Heineken USA, CCA Florida has expanded its oyster shell collection and recycling capabilities.  Local Heineken representatives Courtney Maloney and Taryn Fields worked with us and funded the purchase of 240 buckets branded with our logos to be placed at restaurants for recycling oysters.  Fifty of the buckets were donated to Victorio’s Oyster Bar & Grille in Longwood, Florida and they are contributing close to one ton of oyster shells per week.  Our Winter Park High School Chapter members are picking up the oyster shells weekly and taking them to the Lake County Landfill to store and dry for future oyster restoration projects.  Because of the importance of this volunteer work, high school CCA members are getting their required hours toward their Bright Futures Scholarships!

Heineken then organized an oyster bagging event with us at Victorio’s in September, where the restaurant provided the facility and the food and Heineken provided awesome beer and swag.  Over 25 volunteers made 200 oyster bags which will be used for a future deployment event at Tomoka State Park in Ormond Beach.  We’ll again team up with Heineken as well as the University of Central Florida (UCF) and the State Park Service to deploy these oyster bags at Tomoka to stabilize a historic Indian midden that is eroding into the Halifax River.  Follow us on Facebook to find out more about volunteering for this and other projects.

As part of this grant from Heineken, they also started a campaign to help raise funds for CCA and BCT to recycle more oysters.  If you purchase a Heineken or Heineken Light and oysters, you can upload your receipt to them and they will donate up to 1,000 oyster bags for restoration!  The campaign, Great Taste for a Great Cause, and instructions on how to upload your receipts can be found online at https://hloysters.com. Thank you Heineken USA!

Centipede Bay Oyster Restoration

CCA Florida has been working with the University of Florida since 2017 on the deployment of a new oyster reef in Hernando County.  We’ve donated and delivered five tons of oyster shell to Hernando County from our recycling program in Lake County.  The shells from our donation were then bagged in February during a special event by all CCA volunteers!  Our oyster bags were combined with others and 2,400 bags were deployed in April in the Gulf of Mexico to form the base of an oyster reef at a permitted site in Centipede Bay.

 Lady Philomena and Tugboat Everglades Artificial Reef

In June, the “M/V Lady Philomena”, a 150-foot steel vessel, and the 90-foot tug boat “Everglades”were deployed off the coast of Volusia County, sunk on Volusia County Reef Site 12 which is a 5,000' x 5,000’ Federally permitted reef construction area located approx. 9 miles NE of Ponce de Leon Inlet in 75 feet of water.

The Lady Philomena was forfeited to U.S. Customs in Miami after having been seized with illegal contraband.  The reef started generating local excitement last fall, when Volusia County hosted a two-day viewing party that enabled visitors the opportunity to tour the ship.  The deployment of these vessels will enhance this underwater community, attracting marine life such as fish, shrimp and crabs. Artificial reefs also boost local economies through an increase in tourism and patronage in small businesses. The Volusia County artificial reef system is visited by an estimated 50,000 vessels annually and experiences high visitation by recreational anglers and divers. An estimated 1,368 anglers and over 100 SCUBA divers will visit this reef annually.

This project was made possible through the funding partnerships of Volusia County, CCA Florida and BCT - BCT joined us to contribute $25,000 to Volusia County for the deployment.  These meaningful partnerships are the reason we are able to do great marine habitat work in Florida and throughout the United States,” said John Carlson, chairman of the Building Conservation Trust. “The dedication of these like-minded organizations demonstrates the power of coming together to benefit marine life and the local community.”

Brevard County Reef

CCA Florida has a continuing partnership with Brevard County to support their ongoing artificial reef program, and this year we donated $1,000 toward maintaining and monitoring 24 new, five-foot high reef balls that were deployed in August.  As in the past, we also wrote a grant support letter on behalf of Brevard County for an FWC artificial reef grant in which they were awarded funding.  CCA Life Member Greg Harrison has been working on the Brevard artificial reef program for many years and dove the reef ball site with the county approximately one month after the deployment and observed excellent invertebrate species growth on them and observed black sea bass, juvenile red snapper, crabs, and large schools of baitfish.  It’s interesting to note that not a single lionfish was observed.

Manatee County Larry Borden Reef

In July, 575 tons of large limestone boulders were deployed on the Larry Borden Reef in Manatee County. These natural boulders were between four to six feet in size and have created a new, highly productive fishing and diving reef seven miles west of the Longboat Pass Bridge. This is the second deployment on the Larry Borden reef site, thanks to a $25,000 donation by BCT and CCA Florida, combined with a $60,000 grant from FWC to the county.   CCA and BCT’s donation accounted for 170 tons of limestone boulders on the new reef.

John Michael Baker Memorial Reef

Two new artificial reef deployments were conducted this summer off the coastline of Broward County in memorial of John Michael Baker, a member, avid diver and angler who passed away in a tragic boating accident in 2015.

The projects were led by members of the Broward Chapter, who secured a five-year permit from Broward County for an area just offshore of Fort Lauderdale between Oakland Park Blvd. and Birch State Park. The initial deployment in August consisted of 665 tons of concrete materials donated by St. Lucie County. This deeper reef was deployed in approximately 160 feet of water and serves as an artificial reef for fishermen. In August, the second part of the reef project was deployed with the memorial structures in 70 feet of water. This shallower deployment serves asan underwater park for scuba divers and features a memorial structure with a plaque for John Michael Baker.

This 2-part project could not have happened without funding from the John Michael Baker Foundation and without assistance from the Broward CCA Chapter, Broward County and St. Lucie County.  Special thanks to McCulley Marine Services, Robert Carmichael of Brownie’s Marine Group, U.S. Concrete Products for donating the shallow reef materials, Industrial Divers for placing all the pieces together at the bottom of the ocean and to the countless others who selflessly donated funds and volunteered.

Brause Girls Tugboat Reef

CCA Florida donated $10,000 to help fund the deployment of the new Brause Girls Tugboat Reef off the coast of Martin County this summer.  This project was a partnership between CCA, MCAC Artificial Reef Fund, Inc., and SHIP, Inc.  The 100’ tugboat was successfully deployed in August, 7.6 miles east of the St. Lucie Inlet in approximately 180 feet of water at 27.20742/-80.00467.  Less than an hour after the tugboat was sunk, divers observed that amberjacks and baitfish had already moved onto the vessel.

Lee County San Carlos Bay Oyster Restoration

This spring, CCA Florida contributed $10,000 and partnered with Lee County and FWC to help enhance and restore nine oyster reefs through the addition of large washed fossil shell and oyster shell.  The restoration areas range from 0.14 acres to 0.96 acres in size.The restored oyster site in San Carlos Bay will be compared to control and natural reference sites to allow testing of goal-based hypotheses using a BACI (Before-After-Control-Impact) design.  This design has a temporal component to allow statistical comparisons before and after the construction occurs. It also allows the constructed oyster reef to be compared to nearby reference sites and other similar sites which have not yet been subject to restoration efforts.

Tomoka State Park Shoreline Stabilization

CCA Florida donated $6,625 to UCF to fund Phase 1 of this new living shoreline stabilization project. Timucuan Native Americans occupied this area for many hundreds of years and created middens - mounds of oyster, clam and other shells and bones that extended 40 feet high along the shores.  The current highly eroded shorelines are all historic midden-dominated areas dating back to the Timucuans, making it extremely important to protect these shorelines and artifacts.

Phase 1 was successfully completed on the western shoreline of the park in March by UCF and our volunteers.The objective of this project is to implement living shoreline techniques using planted mangroves, smooth cordgrass and oyster shell as recruitment substrate, to restore an eroded area along the shoreline of Tomoka State Park.

Sarasota Bay Watch Clam Restoration

This summer, CCA Florida donated $5,000 to Sarasota Bay Watch (SBW) to sponsor the restoration of 50,000 clams back into Sarasota Bay. SBW is working to restore clams and scallops to the bay with these important filter-feeders that play a critical role in mitigating poor water quality. They actually eat red tide and other algae, sequester carbon, filter up to 10 gallons of water per day, and provide food for other marine life. Each of the 50,000 clams is over 2-inches in size and according to Dr. Bruce Barber, Executive Director of the Gulf Shellfish Institute, a single 2-inch clam filters out 50,000,000 red tide organisms per day. That equates to 2.5 trillion organisms per day for the 50,000 clams. To date, SBW has released 143,000 clams in the bay that collectively are capable of clearing over 7 trillion (7,000,000,000,000) red tide organisms every day!

CCA/Swamp Head Brewery Trash Tour

CCA Florida partnered with Swamp Head Brewery again in 2018 for the second year of the Trash Tour.  With four stops around the state completed this year, over 200 volunteers participated in removing more than four tons of trash from our local coastal waterways. The four locations included Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Port St. Joe and Charlotte Harbor.  Each participant in the Trash Tour filled their hands with a Swamp Head beer, freshly prepared food, tons of free goodies from our amazing sponsors and a day of competitive display of coastal conservation.

A huge thank you to our title sponsor, Costa Kick Plastic, and all our sponsors including Hydro Flask, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Power-Pole, Cheney Brothers, Publix Supermarkets, and Waste Pro. Please join us for the 2019 Trash Tour with locations and dates coming soon.

Ghost Trap Rodeo

CCA Florida and Ocean Aid 360completed the first of six Ghost Trap Rodeo events on in October at Ft. DeSoto Park in Pinellas County.  With the help of 37 participants, 25 abandoned crab traps were removed from Tampa Bay along with over 400 pounds of other marine debris.  Congressman Charlie Crist joined the event to express his support for this ghost fishing/marine debris intervention and to serve as our Ghost Trap Rodeo Grand Marshall.

By pulling these 25 traps, local angler-volunteers limited the cycle of ghost fishing in Pinellas County waters resulting in reduced mortality of marine life by-caught in the lost traps and improved the estuarine habitat for future generations of marine life.  Volunteers also won a lot of great industry-sponsored prizes valued at nearly $5,000 in retail value!  We have four more Ghost Trap Rodeo events scheduled around Tampa Bay, one per month until March 23, with $25,000 in prizes over the six events.  For more information and upcoming dates, visit oceanaid360.org.

Living Shoreline and Oyster Reef Restoration in Mosquito Lagoon

CCA Florida was honored to partner with UCF and the Marine Discovery Center on a grant titled Living Shoreline and Oyster Reef Restoration in Mosquito Lagoon: Continuation of Successful Models and Successful Partnerships.  The grant was awarded in June 2017 in the amount of $82,770, along with an in-kind match of $87,055.  The funds are being used in 2018 to continue their highly successful oyster reef restoration and living shoreline stabilization in Mosquito Lagoon.  The number of volunteers and number of volunteer hours dedicated towards Mosquito Lagoon restoration is staggering.  UCF has been diligent in tracking these important statistics:

For 2018:
Oyster reef restoration - 428 volunteers for 3126.5 hours.
Living shoreline stabilization - 778 volunteers for 3399.5 hours.

Life total:
(Since 2005) Oyster reef restoration: 50,049 volunteers.
(Since 2010) Living shoreline stabilization: 9,850 volunteers.
Combined: 59,899 volunteers!

Alongside our advocacy efforts, habitat restoration initiatives play a role in our state's water quality and the health of our fisheries. We're proud to lead this work, and when coupled with other efforts, we know these projects will help lead to recovery.  2019 is shaping up to be even busier than 2018 with many habitat projects and artificial reefs already planned.  If you have an idea for a habitat project in your area or would like more information on any of our completed projects, please contact Frank Gidus at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Many of our members have observed a significant decline in Redfish throughout Florida in recent years. CCA has followed the issue closely and FWC tells us that this decline is primarily due to low recruitment of Redfish during the spawning seasons from 2011 to 2015, meaning fewer Redfish are making it from egg form to a juvenile fish. According to the FWC, long periods of red tide, water quality issues and other factors on the west coast, along with water quality issues and habitat loss on the east coast, have been the primary problems. 

The good news is that recent years have shown better recruitment. In 2015, the recruitment of fish shows a substantial increase, which continued in 2016 and 2017. We won't know for certain until studies in 2019 are completed because these fish take 18-24 months to mature, and longer to reach the legal slot limit. Additionally, these fish don’t even reach sexual maturity until they are approximately 3-5 years old.

Redfish are an iconic fish to our state and a great recovery story. Let's work together to conserve this fishery for the next generation. CCA has been hard at work creating habitat, addressing complex water quality issues throughout the state and creating more access for anglers. Sign up to help CCA and our partners create more habitat, and next time you catch any Redfish, RELEASE THEM FOR TOMORROW.

Keep those observations and questions coming so we can keep all our members better informed.
CCA recently teamed up with the University of Central Florida (UCF) and the Marine Discovery Center (MDC) on an Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program (IRLNEP) grant application. Of the 17 submittals to the IRLNEP, the UCF grant application ranked No. 1 overall and was awarded $82,770 for their ongoing project titled, “Living Shoreline and Oyster Reef Restoration in Mosquito Lagoon: Continuation of Successful Model and Successful Partnerships.” CCA also contributed a $5,000 in-kind match to the grant, bringing the total project funding to $169,825. Dr. Linda Walter’s (UCF Pegasus Professor of Biology) lab is recognized as a global leader in the field of oyster reef restoration and living shoreline stabilization. She and her many students advise and participate in restoration efforts around the state and the globe. To be most engaged and productive, the team selects projects strategically, where the impact on the science and community, including thousands of central Florida K-12 and UCF students, will be the greatest. Dr. Walters’ vision of academic and research excellence has developed a legacy program at UCF - one of the longest, most productive oyster reef restoration projects in the USA (12+ years, 77 reefs restored, habitat created for 12 million+ oysters). Research and restoration in the lab additionally includes “living shoreline” stabilization of numerous, priceless cultural sites in Florida (shell middens, historic buildings) for over 2000 meters of shoreline, including numerous sites within Canaveral National Seashore (Eldora House, Turtle Mound, Oyster Bay, etc.), Fort Mose State Historic Site (St. Augustine, FL) and De Soto National Memorial (near Bradenton, FL).
Tampa Bay Watch is recruiting volunteer boaters to remove abandoned crab traps from the bay during the temporary closure of blue crab fishery on Saturday, July 15. In Tampa Bay, it is estimated that there are hundreds of abandoned crab traps that have been accumulating in the water for decades. The temporary closure is a unique opportunity that only happens once every two years. It allows us to go out and remove any trap from the water because during the closed season, all blue and stone crab traps are considered derelict. Not just anyone can remove a trap. If you are interested in being involved, you must be a part of an organized effort that has been authorized by FWC such as our event on July 15.

Derelict crab traps are a problem for several reasons: they continue to ghost fish (fishing that continues despite the inactivity of the trap) killing not only the crabs but several other recreationally and commercially important species. They also pose a navigational hazard to boaters and can cause damage to valuable and sensitive habitats such as seagrass. Manatees, dolphins and sea turtles can also become entangled in the trap line causing injury or death.  

Please let us know if you know of an area where there are a lot of derelict crabtraps so we can arrange to take care of them during the closure. 

We are partnering with ReelCycle who will pick up all of the traps from each location and recycle all of the trap material.

Who: Anyone with a boat that is willing to help remove abandoned traps from the waters. Tampa Bay Watch will provide tarps, but your boat will get dirty.  A limited number of spots may be available for participants that do not have boats (this will be on a waiting list basis).

When: Saturday, July 15 from 9am to noon

Where: We are recruiting volunteers for six different locations throughout the bay, so you can choose which location you would prefer to participate. The locations are:

  • Belleair Causeway boat ramp in Belleair Bluffs
  • Upper Tampa Bay at Courtney Campbell Causeway boat ramp
  • Alafia River at Williams Park boat ramp
  • We already have enough boats at Fort De Soto Park, Demen's Landing & Cockroach Bay boat ramp 

Click here to register for the project! 

Mark your calendar and plan to join CCA Florida and the UCF Biology Department this summer for several habitat restoration project opportunities in Mosquito Lagoon!
Join us in assisting Dr. Linda Walters with the department’s ongoing habitat restoration program in the Lagoon.  Projects like these are leading to progressive improvements in water quality and are helping to protect and restore our state’s marine habitats for the future.  Be a part of great work!  Dates include:
June 1, 2, 4, 5, 12, 13, 15 + 16
July 6, 7, 8 + 9
Opportunities include oyster restoration and reef leveling, transporting supplies, mat deployments or transporting volunteers to and from the site.
Interested in joining us?  Contact Frank Gidus (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) for additional information, directions and to RSVP.  Bring your hat, sunscreen and gloves, wear closed toe shoes and bring plenty of water.  We look forward to seeing you!            
Dr. Walters’ vision of academic and research excellence has developed a legacy program at UCF - one of the longest, most productive oyster reef restoration projects in the USA (12+ years, 77 reefs restored, habitat created for 12 million+ oysters).  Research and restoration in the lab additionally includes “living shoreline” stabilization of numerous, priceless cultural sites in Florida (shell middens, historic buildings) for over 2000 meters of shoreline, including numerous sites within Canaveral National Seashore (Eldora House, Turtle Mound, Oyster Bay, etc.), Fort Mose State Historic Site (St. Augustine, FL) and De Soto National Memorial (near Bradenton, FL). Knowing that citizen education and engagement are essential to restoration success, this team has engaged over 57,000 volunteers to date (including over fifty preK-12 schools in 6 central Florida counties).
For the Love of Florida
Most Floridians understand the importance of coastal habitat restoration. But did you know what a difference these projects are making in our state?  And how joint efforts by various conservation groups and volunteers are protecting and restoring Florida’s marine habitat for the future?
Check out the latest in CCA Florida habitat restoration projects and the progress we’re making with partner conservation groups. Thanks to our friend C.A. Richardson of Flats Class for helping share our story!
Help us spread the word by sharing this video, or supporting the Building Conservation Trust, CCA’s national habitat funding program.  Not a CCA member? Join now to make a difference.

For more than a decade, CCA Florida and hundreds of local CCA chapter members have contributed thousands of volunteer hours and acquired funding to help restore Florida's fragile marine habitat.  Volunteers have contributed to offshore and nearshore reef development, oyster reef restoration, shoreline stabilization, and planted literally hundreds of acres of saltmarsh, seagrass beds and mangroves.  Many of these projects were partially or wholly funded through foundation grants acquired by CCA Florida, CCA National’s Building Conservation Trust (BCT) Fund, and from donations by local CCA chapters and generous individual members.

Because of the importance of habitat and water quality to our fisheries, CCA Florida continues to substantially increase its role in the area of habitat restoration in Florida.  With the increasing degraded water quality issues we are all facing around the state, it is critical that restoration projects continue and at a faster pace.  Habitat restoration projects are effective in improving water quality as well as providing new habitat for fish and other important marine life.  Take a look at the projects listed below, along with the email address for the CCA volunteer that is coordinating the project, and send that volunteer a note if you would like to get involved.  You can also contact Frank Gidus if you have an idea for a habitat project or concerns about environmental issues impacting Florida fisheries at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Chapter: South Palm Beach

Contact: Scott Harris, J.D. Dickenson

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Marine fisheries and recreational angling off the coast of Jupiter, Florida, recently got a yet another boost with the placement of 100 artificial reef modules on August 8 and 9, 2016.  The modules are made of three different designs to create a new 600 feet long by 100 feet wide reef located 1.5 miles northeast of Jupiter Inlet.  The new reef is comprised of 50 eight foot tall limestone rock encrusted concrete pyramids, 35 seven foot tall Bahamian coral head replicas and 15 unique concrete block structures.  

No Shoes Reefs Project, the partnership between Building Conservation Trust (BCT), CCA’s National Habitat Program, Country Superstar Kenny Chesney and ENGEL Coolers have contributed to the Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation, for phase two of the Andrew “Red” Harris No Shoes Reef.  BCT Executive Director Sean Stone said on Monday, “The Andrew “Red” Harris No Shoes Reef is a great example of what the power of partnerships can do when deciding how to best bring awareness to ocean conservation and habitat through artificial reefs.  The No Shoes Reefs Project brings needed dollars along with national awareness through our social channels with our partners.”
Like the Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation Reef deployed last year, this new reef site is expected to positively impact local economies by enticing anglers and divers who utilize local boat charters, hotels, restaurants and other amenities.


Red-Harris-Reef-02 Red-Harris-Reef-03

Association (SWARA)
Chapter: South Walton
Contact: Andy McAlexander
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Andy McAlexander from the South Walton Chapter set up a non-profit association to build reefs and oyster habitat restoration projects along the gulf shores of Walton County in the Panhandle.  On July 10, 2015 the South Walton Artificial Reef Association (SWARA) deployed the first half of 58 artificial reef structures off of Grayton Beach State Park.  This is the first of several snorkel and fishing reefs planned that will span across south Walton County.  The completion of this reef is set for the end of September or early October 2015.  An additional 684 structures will also be deployed sometime in 2016.

SWARA has plans for multiple oyster habitat projects and near shore snorkeling and fishing reefs. The long term goal of SWARA is to improve the water quality, increase tourism and enhance the lifestyle of the local residents and visitors.  SWARA is working on some local funding to get the projects off the ground with the majority of the funds coming from BP monies set aside from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. SWARA has ambitious plans for the area and will be a huge asset for CCA in the Panhandle for years to come.

Chapter: Tampa
Contact: Don Roberts
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Tampa Bay Watch, in partnership with the Florida Aquarium and CCA Florida, will be moving forward with a shoreline stabilization project that will allow the creation of new oyster dome and oyster bar habitat along the southern shoreline of Fantasy Island.  The oyster dome field and oyster shell bar have been designed to help stabilize approximately 700’ of severely eroding shoreline, provide hard bottom habitats for fish and wildlife resources and promote water quality improvements in the Tampa Bay ecosystem.  CCA Florida received a generous matching challenge grant award from the Duckwall Foundation for $25,000. On April 11, 2016 Tampa Bay Watch received $75,000 from CCA Florida, the Building Conservation Trust, and the Duckwall Foundation to sponsor the construction and community involvement of the Fantasy Island Project.

This project involves the placement of 1,080 oyster domes and approximately 41.5 tons of fossilized shell along the southern shoreline of the island.  Placed Lo-Pro Reef Ball™ units will provide wave attenuation to assist with erosion control and to provide habitat for marine life.  These reef balls are well suited for the establishment of oysters that are common along the Fantasy Island shoreline and throughout Tampa Bay.  Placing the Lo-Pro’s in approximately two feet of water will allow the units to be mostly exposed during low tide and totally submerged at high tide; conditions which are optimum for oysters in Tampa Bay.  Reef ball units will create habitat by encouraging oysters and other filter feeders to attach.  The oyster dome placement will occur after the oyster shell bar has been built so as to minimize and safety issues and disturbance to the habitat.  The project is scheduled for deployment in the fall 2016.

Tampa-Bay Fantasy-Island

Chapter: Tampa

Contact: Don Roberts

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Tampa Bay Watch, in partnership with the NOAA Restoration Center and the Port of Tampa Bay, is proposing a community-based oyster creation project to install approximately 12,100 square feet (0.27 ac) of new oyster reef communities on the eastern shoreline of Spoil Island 2D in Tampa Bay, Florida.  The Building Conservation Trust has committed $25,000 to Tampa Bay Watch to work with the local chapters of CCA and other youth and adult community volunteers to construct the new oyster reefs in Tampa Bay.  The 2-D island is located just north of the Fantasy Island oyster restoration project.

 Tampa-Bay-2D No.-1 Tampa-Bay-2D No.-2

Chapter: Tampa
Contact: Don Roberts
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CCA Florida and the Lee County Department of Natural Resources partnered to deploy the USCGC Mohawk to its final resting place. The 165-foot World War II Coast Guard Cutter, "Mohawk" was the last remaining ship of the Battle of the Atlantic.  The Mohawk was laid to rest in 90 feet of water on July 2, 2012 approximately 28 nautical miles off of Sanibel Island on Florida’s southwest coast, creating the first Veterans Memorial Reef dedicated to all U.S. veterans.

CCA Florida chartered the 90’ "Great Getaway" that transported over 100 passengers to the deployment site. The passengers included USCG 2nd Class Petty Officer Edward March who served on the Mohawk for 15 months during WWII, his family, local veterans, members of the media, local and state dignitaries and elected officials as well as CCA members from across the state of Florida. The Mohawk was laid to rest with a fresh coat of wartime camouflage paint along with her anchor chains, props, replica guns, replica depth charges and even a new whale boat was added. The official name of the reef is the U.S.S. Mohawk CGC Veterans Memorial Reef and the coordinates are 82°43'42.347"W, 26°33'14.64"N.

Chapter: South Palm Beach
Contact: J.D. Dickenson
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The Goggle Eye Reef was once a productive reef that was completely smothered by sand 10 to 15 years ago.  On September 15, 2015, about 700 tons of limestone boulders and scrap concrete were dumped into the ocean about a half-mile northeast of the Boynton Beach Inlet in an effort to rebuild the natural reef that had been degraded by years storms and shifting sand.  Workers on a tugboat and a 200-foot barge spent most of the day at the reef site.  J.D. Dickenson of the South Palm Beach chapter of the CCA Florida, which spearheaded the project, and Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management engineers monitored the reef construction.  CCA Florida raised $85,000 in grants and donations to build the reef, which will provide ideal habitats for fish on the natural limestone Goggle Eye Reef, which was covered by sand.

Most of the money for the project came from the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties, which contributed $55,000, and Impact 100, which awarded grants totalling $17,000. The project also received funding from CCA’s Building Conservation Trust Fund, the Merrill G. and Emita E. Hastings Foundation, and many individual contributors.  Eventually the reef will recruit sea fans and live corals and is expected to attract as many as 60 species of fish.  Near shore artificial reefs are badly needed in South Palm Beach County as many natural reefs have been eroded and covered by sand.  There are more inlets in the southern part of the county coastline and more beach renourishment projects, both of which contribute to natural reef systems being buried by shifting sands.

Chapter: South Palm Beach
Contact: Scott Harris, J.D. Dickenson
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Marine fisheries and recreational angling off the coast of Jupiter, Florida, recently got a boost with the placement of 40 artificial reef cells in 88 feet of water in August 2015.  The CCA Building Conservation Trust contributed $25,000 to the Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation for the project, which utilized innovative reefing materials to create a thriving new ecosystem. The site for the project off Jupiter is currently flat, featureless sand plains near the existing Zion Train, Miss Jenny and ESSO Bonaire “Wreck Trek.”  The new reef cells rise up to eight feet off the sea floor and create interconnected cavities and surfaces exposed to sunlight and water current.  The structures are designed to provide a specific habitat environment favored by a wide range of marine organisms so that where there is now only flat sand, a flourishing ecosystem will develop.

The new reef site is expected to positively impact local economies by enticing anglers and divers who utilize local boat charters, hotels, restaurants and other amenities. According to Alan Richardson, chairman of the Organization for Artificial Reefs based in Tallahassee, Florida, for every dollar spent locally on an artificial reef, $138 comes back into local communities.  In addition to the Building Conservation Trust, the Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation is partnering on the $78,000 project with Palm Beach County, the Town of Jupiter, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Palm Beach County Fishing Foundation, REEF CELLS and Jupiter Dive Center.

Chapter: Treasure Coast
Contact: Capt. Paul Dritenbas
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The Treasure Coast Chapter of CCA continues to work with the Vero Beach Rotary Club on several projects on the Mooring Flats in the Indian River.  Paul Dritenbas, an architect, fishing guide, Rotarian and unwavering CCA volunteer, is leading an effort called Rotary Initiative for Submerged Seagrass Awareness (RISSA) that now surround the grass flats with a ring of buoys and warning signs to protect it from damage by powerboats.  

The first phase of the project consisted of placing 24 large, floating buoys labeled, “Caution Seagrass Area” around the Moorings Flats.  The second phase consisted of surrounding an existing 400 square foot oyster bar on the Moorings Flats with approximately 1,200 16” x 16” black poly mesh oyster mats.  The 1,200 mats enlarged the oyster bar area to approximately 2,500 square feet.

A total of three additional oyster restoration sites named CCA #1, CCA #2 and CCA #3 were also permitted and approved for deployment.  CCA #1 was permitted in March of 2014 and with the help of many volunteers the oyster mats were installed in April 2014.  A total of 912 mats containing over 1,600 square feet were successfully deployed.  The site location was strategically placed in an idle speed area along a tidal spit between two spoil islands in St. Lucie County.  

The CCA #2 oyster reef was deployed on May 7, 2016 and consists of 1,020 oyster mats located in the Indian River on the northwest side or Spoil Island IR26, northeast of Loggerhead Marina and west of the Johns Island subdivision.  The 1,020 oyster mats contain an area of approximately 1,800 square feet.  Over 50 volunteers participated and included the CCA Treasure Coast Chapter, the Rotary Club Vero Beach Sunrise, the Vero Beach Power Squadron, the Walking Tree Brewery, and the Indian River High School Girls & Boys Rowing Team.   Oyster spat traps were deployed at 3 additional locations for the future deployment of a new, permitted CCA #3 oyster reef.  The deployment for CCA #3 is tentatively scheduled for the fall 2016 or spring 2017.   To date, CCA Florida has donated almost $18,000 to this habitat restoration project!

Chapter: Orlando
Contact: Greg Harrison
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On August 7, 2015, twenty-four “Florida limestone” modules were deployed east of the popular 8A reef off the Brevard coast.  The modules are made of concrete and natural stone intended to attract marine growth as quickly as possible.  At 8 feet tall and with a 10-foot triangular base, each module boasts over 367 square feet of surface area.  The reef was deployed in a 4-by-6 grid with 20 feet between each module and weighed in at over 72 tons of material.

Thanks to CCA Orlando life member Greg Harrison working with Matt C. Culver, Boating & Waterways Program coordinator for the Brevard County Natural Resources Management Department, the project was a huge success.   Unlike many permits that only cover a small area, the permit for this reef covers an area of nearly 4 square miles.  With the permitting already approved, adding to this reef should be more streamlined and less expensive in the future.

Chapter: Orlando
Contact: Greg Harrison
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Since 2008, CCA Orlando life member Greg Harrison CCA Florida has been partnering with the University of Central Florida (UCF) and the Brevard Zoo on several oyster restoration and shoreline stabilization projects in the Mosquito Lagoon.  Greg was instrumental in getting many volunteers to assist over the years with what is quickly becoming Florida’s and the nation’s most publicized habitat project.   To date, the number of volunteers on this project total 44,563 for oyster restoration and 7,270 for living shorelines.   That’s an amazing total of 51,833 volunteers to date!  

Led by Dr. Linda Walters, a UCF biological sciences professor, over 43,000 deployed oyster mats have restored on 77 oyster reefs, covering a footprint area of 2.20 acres in Mosquito Lagoon. The mats on the restored reefs are maintaining their structure and are not being dislodged by boat wakes.  Analysis of the monitoring data over the past eight years shows that, to date, this methodology that couples dead margin leveling with placement of oyster mats on the leveled shell material is exceeding all structural and functional monitoring plan objectives.  On restored reefs: 1) no dead margins have reformed, 2) recruitment of oysters on 2007 mats continues to increase and is now an average of 235.9 live oysters per mat (0.25 m2) or 943.6 live oysters per square meter, 3) recruitment continued to occur during 2 years with brown tide (Aureoumbra lagunensis) blooms, and 4) seagrass recruited seaward of 21 of 73 (28.8%) reefs restored between 2007 and 2015.  If you multiply the mean recruitment value for 2007 reefs by the number of mats deployed, this project has supplied substrate at the appropriate lagoon depths to potentially restore over 10,204,798 oysters to the waters of Mosquito Lagoon. Overall, this project has been exceptionally successful in terms of oyster recruitment, habitat improvement, and community engagement.  This is an ongoing project in which additional funding and volunteers are needed for future oyster restoration and shoreline stabilization projects!

Chapter: Jacksonville
Contact: Peyton Scheppe
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CCA Florida assisted with the splash down of two new fishing reefs less than half a mile from the I-95 Bridge over the St. Johns River in downtown Jacksonville in 2014.  The total cost of the project was $60,000 and the Jacksonville Chapter of CCA Florida raised 50 percent of the necessary funding. The Building Conservation Trust, CCA’s national habitat program, garnered support from country music star Kenny Chesney and Costa Sunglasses among others for donations for the remaining $30,000 to the project.  Named the Coastal Conservation Association and George Holt Reefs, the man-made reefs were designed to promote quality of aquatic life.  They were built through the support of Kenny Chesney’s ongoing partnership with Costa Del Mar Sunglasses and the CCA Building Conservation Trust.  An east Tennessee songwriter/superstar, Chesney visited the completed reefs in June 2015.

Thirteen hundred tons of concrete were used to create the two reefs. In total, 18 barge loads were needed to carry the material to the two designated reef sites.  Each reef measures 200 feet by 200 feet, and each was built in a two-week time frame to minimize disruption.  The effort attracted widespread support including the City of Jacksonville, who embraced the idea and handled all the permitting requirements for the reefs.  Among the volunteers working for the habitat enhancement is the former chairman of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Kathy Barco.

Chapter: Martin/St. Lucie

Contact: Frank Gidus

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CCA Florida partnered with the Florida Oceanographic Society (FOS) to create oyster habitat and to restore seagrass in the Indian River in Martin County, Florida.  The first phase of the project, which deployed on April 29-30, 2016, consisted of deploying 1200 bags of shell (average weight of 10lbs. each) across both days (300 on 4/29 and 900 on 4/30). The areal footprint of the reefs was approximately 600 sq. ft. (150 sq. ft. per site).  The project is located at four sites (known as LS-01, LS-03, LS-04 and LS-05), within the Indian River, a Class III water, Outstanding Florida Waterbody, Jensen Beach to Jupiter Inlet Aquatic Preserve.  

A total 1,410 sq. ft. of shoal grass (Halodule wrightii) was planted at the four sites on May 25, 2016. 100 mats of seagrass, each containing an average of 16 shoots for a total of at least 1600 shoots, were planted.  These oyster reef and seagrass planting activities have resulted in 4,460 square feet (0.10 acres) of restoration work in the Indian River.


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