July 17, 2015
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM Research Reserve) partnered with the city of St. Augustine, Flagler College, Northeast Florida Aquatic Preserves and volunteers to relocate oysters from a small area on Salt Run to create a non-motorized watercraft access at Sailboat Beach. The oysters were moved north and south of the access point to preserve the oysters and to enhance the existing reefs in those areas.
“The city of St. Augustine invited GTM Research Reserve to get involved with this project to preserve the oysters instead of just removing them,” said Nikki Dix, director of research at GTM Research Reserve. “Our staff is experienced in oyster ecology and restoration, so we were eager to help.”
The relocation of the oysters creates a small, shallow launching area for sailboats or small non-engine watercraft. This effort reduces the potential impact on marshes and oysters at the new access landing. GTM Research Reserve is partnering with Flagler College’s Coastal Environmental Science Program to monitor and supervise the relocated oyster reef.
Additionally, other improvements to the launching area include installing a 4-foot-high by 100-foot-long fence along the western edge of the beach to provide protection and deterrence from foot traffic in the area. Informational signs will be installed on the fence and channel markers to communicate safety, rules, regulations and vessel storage information.
For more information about this project, call Nikki Dix at 904-823-4500.