Chapter: Treasure Coast
Contact: Capt. Paul Dritenbas
The Treasure Coast Chapter of CCA continues to work with the Vero Beach Rotary Club on several projects on the Mooring Flats in the Indian River. Paul Dritenbas, an architect, fishing guide, Rotarian and unwavering CCA volunteer, is leading an effort called Rotary Initiative for Submerged Seagrass Awareness (RISSA) that now surround the grass flats with a ring of buoys and warning signs to protect it from damage by powerboats.
The first phase of the project consisted of placing 24 large, floating buoys labeled, “Caution Seagrass Area” around the Moorings Flats. The second phase consisted of surrounding an existing 400 square foot oyster bar on the Moorings Flats with approximately 1,200 16” x 16” black poly mesh oyster mats. The 1,200 mats enlarged the oyster bar area to approximately 2,500 square feet.
A total of three additional oyster restoration sites named CCA #1, CCA #2 and CCA #3 were also permitted and approved for deployment. CCA #1 was permitted in March of 2014 and with the help of many volunteers the oyster mats were installed in April 2014. A total of 912 mats containing over 1,600 square feet were successfully deployed. The site location was strategically placed in an idle speed area along a tidal spit between two spoil islands in St. Lucie County.
The CCA #2 oyster reef was deployed on May 7, 2016 and consists of 1,020 oyster mats located in the Indian River on the northwest side or Spoil Island IR26, northeast of Loggerhead Marina and west of the Johns Island subdivision. The 1,020 oyster mats contain an area of approximately 1,800 square feet. Over 50 volunteers participated and included the CCA Treasure Coast Chapter, the Rotary Club Vero Beach Sunrise, the Vero Beach Power Squadron, the Walking Tree Brewery, and the Indian River High School Girls & Boys Rowing Team. Oyster spat traps were deployed at 3 additional locations for the future deployment of a new, permitted CCA #3 oyster reef. The deployment for CCA #3 is tentatively scheduled for the fall 2016 or spring 2017. To date, CCA Florida has donated almost $18,000 to this habitat restoration project!