Water Quality Issues
The Coastal Conservation Association Florida (CCA) continues to team on various habitat restoration projects in the Indian River Lagoon (IRL).  In partnership with Capt. Paul Dritenbas and the CCA Treasure Coast Chapter, oyster reef CCA #2 was deployed on May 7, 2016.  The reef consists of 1,020 oyster mats located in the IRL in Vero Beach 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.   Paul Dritenbas also deployed oyster spat traps 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!

CCA also partnered with the Florida Oceanographic Society (FOS) to create oyster habitat and to restore seagrass in the IRL in Martin County, Florida.  The first phase of the project, which deployed on April 29th and 30th, consisted of deploying 1200 bags of shell (average weight of 10lbs. each) across both days.  The areal footprint of the reefs was approximately 600 sq. ft, or 150 sq. ft per site.  The project is located at four sites known as LS-01, LS-03, LS-04 and LS-05, within the IRL, a Class III water, Outstanding Florida Waterbody, Jensen Beach to Jupiter Inlet Aquatic Preserve.  

In conjunction with the oyster reefs, a series of seagrass plantings along the four sites in the IRL took place on May 25th.  Approximately 100 seagrass mats (each 21 cm x 21 cm) containing shoal grass (Halodule wrightii) were deployed on the onshore and offshore sides of the oyster reefs.   Once in place, the shoal grass mats spanned roughly 150 feet of shoreline.  Each mat contains an average of 16 shoots of shoal grass for a total of at least 1600 shoots.  A total 1,410 sq. ft. of shoal grass will be eventually be planted at the four sites.   These oyster reef and seagrass planting activities will result in 4,460 square feet (0.10 acres) of restoration work in the Indian River!  
Volunteers for the oyster deployment and seagrass plantings included FOS, CCA, Stuart Rod & Reel Club, and Stuart Flyrodders. “CCA Florida is proud to be part of this important project that will help enhance habitat and improve water quality in the St. Lucie Estuary and Indian River Lagoon,” said J.D. Dickenson, CCA Florida Habitat Committee chairman.  “The combination of planting seagrass around the oyster reefs has many benefits to the oysters, fish and all marine life in the estuary.  Furthermore, clearer water will allow more sunlight to penetrate the bottom which can result in the expansion of the seagrasses.”
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