Restoration of oyster reefs to enhance Oystercatcher habitat in Cedar Key

To address erosion of oyster reefs used seasonally by American Oystercatchers, the Shellfish Extension Program and Cedar Key Aquaculture Association worked with FWC biologists to apply previously demonstrated restoration techniques at Corrigan’s Reef and Gomez Key. Cedar Key is home to the largest population of wintering Oystercatchers in Florida. Oystercatchers roost on unwooded, high-tide sandbars and oyster reefs. This habit may help Oystercatchers distance themselves from predators associated with wooded areas, such as raccoons and birds of prey. Last summer, 1000 damaged clam bags removed from aquaculture leases were used as bulkhead material at these two sites. Limerock cobbles were added later. Then in January, over 20 volunteers along with UF and FWC folks spread 100 bushels of clam shell collected from processing plants over the boulders. This approach is designed to promote oyster colonization, to resist wave action and tidal erosion, and, ultimately, increase elevation of Oystercatcher roosting habitat. For more information on this and another oyster restoration project in Cedar Key, visit http://shellfish.ifas.ufl.edu/news/oyster-restoration-projects-use-clam-culture-products/.

 

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