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Recycled Oyster Shells to Create New Reef in Charlotte Harbor

CCA Florida and partners join effort to create new oyster reef in Turtle Bay

Placida, Fla. – March 22, 2021 – Water quality, marine fisheries and recreational angling are set to get a boost this week when two dump truck loads of oyster shells will be deployed in Turtle Bay in Charlotte Harbor. Coastal Conservation Association Florida (CCA Florida) partnered with Ingman Marine, Abbott Construction, Lee Reefs, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF), Capt. Jay Withers, Placida Point LLC, Clermont Oyster Bar and Lake County Solid Waste Division to make this project a reality.

Last week, Abbott Construction hauled the dried-out oyster shells from CCA Florida’s Oyster Recycling Program at the Lake County Landfill in Astatula to a staging area in Placida. Tomorrow, the materials will be loaded onto a barge provided by Abbott Construction and deployed in Turtle Bay at a pre-permitted location. 

“This is a unique partnership involving a huge amount of support from the community as well as our sponsors and members,” CCA Florida Chief Operating Officer Adam Miller said. “With all the water quality issues Charlotte Harbor is facing, it is important to partner together and do what we can to help restore the water quality, seagrasses and marine life.”

The recycled oyster shell, donated by the Clermont Oyster Bar, are first dried out for six months to kill any potential pathogens and will eventually attract new oyster larvae and over time will form a new oyster reef.  

“It is critical to come together and pool our resources in effort to tackle larger areas in need of restoration,” CCA Florida’s Director of Habitat and Environmental Restoration Frank Gidus said.  “With an estimated 85% loss of oyster reefs worldwide, efforts for restoration must be made a priority all around the state.”

The federal pre-permitted location allows for more material to be deployed at this Turtle Bay site. In the near future, SCCF and Lee Reefs plan to deploy fossilized shell to serve as a host structure for new oyster growth, creating a foundation for new oyster reef to form. Oyster reefs filter pollutants, reduce turbidity and create habitat for a variety of marine species.

Contact: Mary Hillyer Peelen| 407.617.0604 | mhpeelen@ccaflorida.org 

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About CCA Florida

The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) was founded in 1977 after drastic commercial overfishing along the Texas coast decimated redfish and speckled trout populations. One of 19 state chapters, CCA Florida became the fifth state chapter in 1985. A 501(c)3 non-profit, the purpose of CCA is to advise and educate the public on conservation of marine resources. Through habitat restoration projects, water quality initiatives and fisheries advocacy, CCA Florida works with its over 18,000 members including recreational anglers and outdoor enthusiasts to conserve and enhance marine resources and coastal environments. Join the conversation on Facebook or learn more at ccaflorida.org.

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