Northwest Florida Aquatic Preserves Office to Install ‘Living Shoreline’ in Bayou Chico

December 11, 2014

~Volunteers needed to help install oyster reefs in Pensacola~

The public is invited to assist the staff of Northwest Florida Aquatic Preserves with the installation of a series of five nearshore oyster reefs in Bayou Chico on Friday, Dec. 12, 2014. This project is a partnership between the Northwest Florida Aquatic Preserves, Escambia County, Harborview Marina, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Coastal Service, and Keep Pensacola Beautiful.

Living shorelines enhance estuarine habitat, stabilize sediment and improve water quality. The oyster reefs that create the living shoreline will be placed along 100 linear feet of the western bank of Bayou Chico in between the recently constructed public boat ramp at Mahogany Mill and Harborview Marina.

The National Resource Damage Assessment early restoration funds allowed for the installation of the state-of-the-art boat ramp adjacent to the living shoreline site, and during the planning and design phases, constituents were able to incorporate the plan to install a living shoreline project as an educational tool, as well as a valuable enhancement to the Bayou Chico watershed system.

“We welcome volunteers to come help us install the living shoreline,” said Beth Fugate, manager of the Northwest Florida Aquatic Preserves. “This project is crucial for the protection and proliferation of the ecosystem.”

The oyster reefs will be constructed out of recycled oyster shells that have been collected from local restaurants, weathered and pre-bagged for deployment. The reef structures are designed to provide substrate for live oysters to settle and grow, as well as habitat for a variety of marine and nearshore organisms. The oyster reefs also provide protection for the shoreline so intertidal grasses can grow.

The oyster reef installation along this stretch of bayou shoreline is the first stage of a permitted living shoreline project, which will eventually include the installation of native, salt-tolerant, intertidal vegetation.

Volunteers of all ages are welcome, but participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a guardian. Participants must wear closed-toed shoes and are encouraged to bring a pair of work gloves and a refillable water container. Drinking water will be provided on-site. Some work gloves will be provided for use by volunteers without a pair. Registration is requested at 850-595-0599.

WHAT:    Build a Living Shoreline with Aquatic Preserves Staff

WHEN:    Dec. 12, 2014
                9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

WHERE:  Mahogany Mill Boat Ramp
                1200 Block Mahogany Mill Road
                Pensacola, FL 32507

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