PONTE VEDRA BEACH – The Guana Tolomato Matanzas (GTM) National Estuarine Research Reserve invites the public to a free lecture, “Oysters in Our Own Back Yard,” on Tuesday, March 17 at the Marineland Field Office.
“Eastern oysters are a keystone species in local estuaries, providing a variety of important environmental benefits, including habitat for marine organisms, shoreline erosion protection and improved water quality through filtering many gallons of water a day,” said Michael Shirley, director of the GTM Research Reserve.
According to reports from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the oyster population worldwide has decreased by up to 85 percent. This loss has created a demand for restoring oyster reefs.
Matt Monroe, outreach coordinator with Northeast Florida Aquatic Preserves, will discuss restoring lost oyster reefs and community efforts to enhance or create new reefs. Recycling oyster shells from local restaurants and special events has provided a sustainable source of shell for restoring these much-needed reefs. He will explain the work that goes into the restoration and how anyone interested can get involved.
Monroe holds an environmental science and policy degree from the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, with a focus on fisheries and habitat restoration. He worked with Tampa Bay Watch on their oyster habitat restoration program in Tampa Bay, deploying oyster domes and building reefs with volunteers.
The program is part of an ongoing third-Tuesday-of-the-month lecture series designed to help inform the public about their coastal natural world. These events are free, but space is limited. Reservations can be made by calling 904-823-4500.
WHAT: Lecture: “Oysters in Our Own Back Yard”
WHEN: Tuesday, March 17
10 – 11 a.m.
WHERE: GTM Marineland Office
9741 N. Ocean Shore Blvd.
Marineland, FL 32137