Habitat Restoration

Conservation/Habitat Restoration

Chapter: Big Bend

Contact: Bill Mickler

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Only July 28, 2016, CCA Florida, CCA Music City Chapter, and CCA’s Building Conservation Trust (BCT) partnered with the Organization for Artificial Reefs, Inc. (OAR) to deploy Billy’s Barge to its final resting place on the Carrabelle 10 Mile Reef system.  The reef was named after Billy Solberger, a longtime OAR Board and Research Dive Team member.  We were honored to have the Solberger family, including Billy’s sister and children, on hand to witness the deployment.

The 110-foot barge was from the 1997 adventure horror film "Anaconda"!  The GPS coordinates for the wheelhouse, which is visible from the surface, are 29 39.653/ 84 30.008.  This new reef development will provide hard-bottom habitat enhancement for reef community fish and provide additional recreational fishing and diving opportunities. This reef will also provide valuable forage and protection for various species of fish migrating from inshore nurseries further offshore. The existing Carrabelle 10 Mile reef already has various structures including many placed there on previous projects as memorials to several young men who grew up and fished these waters but died young.  Funding partners include BCT ($25,000), CCA Florida ($8,500), and OAR ($22,000) for a total of $55,500.


Chapter: Manatee

Contact: Brian Gorski, CCA Florida

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FWC partnered with TECO and the Florida Aquarium to create the Suncoast Youth Conservation Center (SYCC) located in Apollo Beach, Florida on the shores of Tampa Bay.  A 6,000 square foot building will include indoor and outdoor classroom space is being built as an educational hub for the Florida Conservation and Technology Center. The SYCC will be the newest and only marine-focused center that is part of our much larger statewide network of youth conservation centers.

CCA FL assisted with the funding and placement of the materials for the new FWC saltwater pond at the facility.  We also received donations from the attendees at the Manatee County Banquet to go towards the project and offset our expense.   There will also be a sign at the pond recognizing CCA Florida’s contribution along with our logo.

Chapter: Ft. Myers

Contact: Adam Miller, CCA Florida

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To goal of this new oyster project is to enhance living oyster reefs in San Carlos Bay, increase oyster densities, and increase the number and diversity of species using oyster reefs.  The Punta Rassa oyster restoration project will enhance 0.13 acres of oyster reefs in San Carlos Bay so that there is sufficient substrate at an optimal elevation for oysters to thrive. The Punta Rassa oyster restoration is one of 8 sites approved for this project that will restore a total of nearly 4 acres of oyster habitat in this area. The proposed project area is adjacent to existing reefs and will remain intertidal and continue to provide forage areas for fish.  This project will enhance an essential habitat feature by adding substrate for oyster reef formation which increase fish prey abundances.

CCA Florida and CCA’s Building Conservation Trust recently contributed $10,000 towards this new oyster reef project.  We will have signage permanently displayed at the oyster reef/boat ramp, one of the busiest in southwest Florida.  The deployment is schedule for late summer/fall 2016 following be a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Chapter: North Palm
Contact: Bill Camp, Chairman, CCA Florida
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CCA Florida conducted and funded a seagrass restoration project in Florida Bay in 2009 and 2010.  The overall goal of the project was to help restore damaged seagrass beds.  Of the many different industry accepted techniques to complete seagrass restoration, a method known as “bird staking” was implemented.  “Bird staking” is accomplished by driving PVC stakes with wooden blocks on top into the damaged areas, birds then use the stakes as a perch and their excrement acts as a fertilizer stimulating the seagrasses to grow in the affected area.   There were 100 bird stakes and one restoration informational sign installed as part of this effort. The National Parks Service (NPS) was onsite during the installation of the stakes and approved the final construction of the project. The restoration took place on Upper Cross Bank in the Florida Bay within Everglades National Park along the southern boundary, just east and north of Tavernier Creek.

The project came about through the hard work and dedication of CCA Florida Board members Adam Gelber and Mike Kennedy.  A respected authority on the subject of seagrasses, Gelber worked long and hard to get the project off the ground. With the project being located within a National Park, CCA Florida was required to get permission through the NPS via the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which can be a lengthy and time consuming process due to consultation requirements for potential impacts to threatened and endangered species with the NPS’ sister federal agencies. Eventually, the persistence paid off and the resource won out.   CCA members from around the state converged on Florida Bay to help with the installation. Special thanks go to Diane Harbaugh for her unwavering support to coordinate volunteer assistance and finding an access point in the Keys. Special thanks also to CCA Florida Chairman Bill Bird and CCA Florida Vice Chairman Jeff Allen for their help with the installation of the bird stakes.

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