Volunteers Help Restore Oyster Beds


SANTA ROSA BEACH - 23 people volunteered Saturday to restore oyster habitats at Eden Gardens State Park.

Experts say diminishing oyster beds in Choctawhatchee Bay is a problem that affects thousands of organisms.

Event organizers started building the oyster beds in the bay 7 years ago.

Earlier Saturday, volunteers bagged hundreds of oyster shells.

They made three semi-circle reef sections out of the 20 lbs.

Over the years, thousands of shells have been removed because of harvesting, so oysters don't have place to settle and grow.

Experts say building new reefs are important to keeping the bay's ecology.

Organizer Alison McDowell said, "They act as a break water. The reef sections are showing above the water, so they act as a break up wave energy and help slow down erosion."

Experts say one oyster can filter up to 50-gallons of water per day.

All the shells were collected from restaurants in Santa Rosa Beach.


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