Charlotte Harbor Oyster Reef Restoration Partnership
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Charlotte Harbor Oyster Reef Restoration Partnership

November 04, 2015   |   ShareThis

In September 2015, Mosaic and The Nature Conservancy (TNC)celebrated the completion of the oyster reef installation in CharlotteHarbor near downtown Punta Gorda. The pilot project, funded in partnership with The Mosaic Company Foundation, will test three restoration methods: oyster mats, oyster bags and loose shell secured by a perimeter of oyster bags. These materials will provide a foundation for oyster larvae to settle and form a new oyster reef. In mid-September a group of Mosaic employees from DeSoto, Charlotte and Hillsborough counties spend the day building “The Mosaic Reef,” one of nine new reefs that volunteers help construct.

TNC also engaged with the City of Punta Gorda, Charlotte HarborNational Estuary Program, Florida Department of Environmental Protection-Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserves and several other volunteers groups to help build the oyster mats and install the new reefs.Working together, the coalition of partners and volunteers created a three-dimensional reef structure to protect Charlotte Harbor’s mangrove shoreline from future impacts of erosion and sea level rise.

Oyster reefs provide valuable habitat and food for other species such as fish, crab, shrimp, and birds – and even the endangered smalltooth sawfish. One adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day,which will contribute to improved water quality in Charlotte Harbor.

Now that the initial reefs have been installed and celebrated at a ribbon cutting ceremony, TNC will work with partners to monitor the progress and continue educating the community about the project’s importance.

Mosaic employees have a shown a strong commitment to improving coastal habitats and water quality from Tampa Bay to Charlotte Harbor through hands-on restoration projects and coastal clean ups. Beyond its partnership with TNC, Mosaic and its Foundation have invested in conservation projects with Tampa Bay Watch, the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program and many more.