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Outreach

Growing Oyster Habitat in Tampa Bay


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The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) participated in oyster-habitat restoration in Tampa Bay, FL, on March 4 and 5. The nonprofit group Tampa Bay Watch organized the event in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. More than 30 volunteers worked each day along with folks from Tampa Bay Watch, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the USGS. The project targeted restoration efforts along the north end of Tarpon Key, an island that is part of Pinellas National Wildlife Refuge—one of several refuges that encompass islands in the bay.

More than 17 tons of fossilized shell material was bagged into individual mesh bags weighing about 30 lb apiece. The bags were then transported to the intertidal zone, where they were placed to serve as substrate for the upcoming oyster-spawning season. In addition to providing substrate for new oyster colonies, the shell material will help stabilize sediment and provide additional habitat for many other marine species.

Shell is shoveled into a section of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe that funnels shell material into a plastic mesh bag. Nancy Dewitt loads mesh bags of shell material onto the barge for transport to the island.
Above Left: Shell is shoveled into a section of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe that funnels shell material into a plastic mesh bag. Jolene Shirley holds a pipe and mesh bag in place while Molly McLaughlin shovels the shell material.

Above Right: Nancy Dewitt loads mesh bags of shell material onto the barge for transport to the island.

An invaluable asset to the project was the USGS platform barge, one of two USGS boats designed to provide wide, stable, shallow-draft working platforms for many uses, including drilling wells for lithologic and hydrologic sampling in offshore areas. It was the perfect vessel for hauling large amounts of shell, moving it into shallow marine areas, and providing easy access for the "bucket brigade" that transferred shell bags from boat to shore. Because the barge was so well suited for this work, the USGS will probably participate in similar future events. Participants from the USGS St. Petersburg Science Center in St. Petersburg, FL, included boat captains Gary Hill, Keith Ludwig, and Nancy Dewitt, as well as the all-important shell baggers and movers: Martha Loyd, Jolene Shirley, Molly McLaughlin, and Ann Tihansky.

The barge transports a full load, more than 75 shell bags weighing approximately 30 lb each, with an eager crowd of shell-bag movers. The shell bags are unloaded by a bucket brigade and placed in shallow water at the north end of Tarpon Key in Tampa Bay.
Above Left: The barge transports a full load, more than 75 shell bags weighing approximately 30 lb each, with an eager crowd of shell-bag movers.

Above Right: The shell bags are unloaded by a bucket brigade and placed in shallow water at the north end of Tarpon Key in Tampa Bay.


Related Web Sites
Tampa Bay Watch
nonprofit stewardship program
Pinellas National Wildlife Refuge
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
St. Petersburg Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

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in this issue: Fieldwork cover story:
Second Tsunami Causes Damage in Indonesia

Why Wasn't the Second Tsunami Larger?

Assessing Tsunami Impacts in the Maldives

Research Giant Flume Used to Study Bedform Morphology

Mountain Beaver Population Slow to Recover After Wildfire

Outreach Growing Oyster Habitat in Tampa Bay

USGS Participates in "Spoonbill Bowl"

USGS Scientist Interviewed About Hurricane Research

Researcher Shares Coral-Reef Expertise

Meetings Tampa Bay Study's 4th Annual Science Conference

Awards Coral-Reef Researcher Wins Prestigious Award

New Nematode Named After USGS Scientist

USGS Biologist Recognized by National Park Service

Staff & Center News CORE CEO Discusses Pew Ocean Commission Report

Publications April Publications List


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Updated December 02, 2016 @ 12:09 PM (JSS)