Florida Oyster Reef Restoration

A volunteer helps to restore oyster reefs at Florida’s Mosquito Lagoon, part of the Indian River Lagoon restoration project. © Anne Birch

The project starts on land, where volunteers help make “oyster mats” by tying shells to environmentally safe mesh. © Anne Birch

More than 9,200 volunteers have created 8,200 mats since the project began in 2005. © Anne Birch

In addition to making and deploying the mats, volunteers rake the “dead margins” (piles of dead oyster shells). © Anne Birch

While the work was hot and messy, volunteers enjoyed being out in a stunning setting with dolphins and osprey feeding around them. © Anne Birch

A hydrologic excavator on loan to the project sped up the process — it raked 12 sites in two days, a job that would have taken volunteers two years to complete! © Michelle Peters-Snyder

From the air, you can see restored reef beneath the water’s surface. More than 1,400 oyster mats were installed. © Ron Brockmeyer, SJRWMD

Finished oyster mats lie beneath the water’s surface. © Cheryl Mall/TNC

In Indian River Lagoon, a total of 20 acres of reef have been restored with oyster mats so far. © Cheryl Mall/TNC


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