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Outreach

Oyster-Reef Restoration Is Part of Earth Day Celebration


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Photo of shell pile and volunteers
Above: Approximately 24 tons of fossilized shell material were dumped at the Alafia River boat ramp on the east side of Tampa Bay, where more than 70 volunteers from Tampa Bay Watch and other groups placed the shell material into net bags.

Volunteers from Tampa Electric's Environmental, Health, and Safety Division make the afternoon run to the oyster reef. From left to right, Therese Sanchez, Dru Latchman, Shelley Aubuchon, and Amy Baker. Keith Ludwig (USGS) pilots the barge
Above: Volunteers from Tampa Electric's Environmental, Health, and Safety Division make the afternoon run to the oyster reef. From left to right, Therese Sanchez, Dru Latchman, Shelley Aubuchon, and Amy Baker. Keith Ludwig (USGS) pilots the barge.

A bucket brigade is used to carry the bags of shell material to the oyster-reef-restoration site off Whiskey Stump Key.
Above: A bucket brigade is used to carry the bags of shell material to the oyster-reef-restoration site off Whiskey Stump Key.

Rob Parris
Above: Event organizer Rob Parris finally gets a chance to eat.

Tampa Bay Watch, a nonprofit group dedicated to preserving the Tampa Bay estuary, teamed up with the Boy Scouts of America to help shore up erosion and provide habitat for oyster beds on the east side of Tampa Bay as part of this year's celebration of Earth Day. Rob Parris, an Eagle Scout candidate from Troop 339, organized the effort to provide 2 days of volunteer help to bag as much as 24 tons of fossilized shell material to use as the basis of a submerged 100-yd-long reef on the west side of Whiskey Stump Key. The site has historic significance because it was preserved in 1934 as one of the first wildlife refuges in the Tampa Bay area. (See article about a similar effort, "Growing Oyster Habitat in Tampa Bay," in Sound Waves, April 2005.)

The shell material was initially dumped in big piles next to the boat landing on the Alafia River. Volunteers placed the shells into net bags and hand-trucked them to waiting boats. Keith Ludwig of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) St. Petersburg Science Center in St. Petersburg, FL, volunteered to pilot a USGS drilling barge and transport the bagged shells approximately 5 mi from the Alafia River landing to Whiskey Stump Key. With its shallow draft, large capacity, and low sides, the barge is the perfect craft to haul the bagged shell material out to the reef site.

Earth Day, April 22, was cool with little wind, making conditions ideal to build the reef. More than 70 volunteers showed up and quickly filled the available watercraft. After the first trip, an award ceremony was held for Parris, a sophomore at Chamberlin High School, whose leadership of the project helped him achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. Representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Tampa Bay Watch, Audubon of Florida, Senator Bill Nelson's office, Congressman Mike Bilirakis' office, Tampa Electric, and the Pinellas County Environmental Fund, among others, gave speeches crediting the good work Parris had done working with adults from a host of organizations to lead this year's event.

After a catered lunch, the volunteers were reenergized and made a second trip to the Whisky Stump Key site. Volunteers from Tampa Electric's Environmental, Health, and Safety Division were well represented on the second leg, which more than doubled the morning's output.

For more information on Whiskey Stump Key and the oyster-reef restoration project, visit these Web sites:


Related Sound Waves Stories
Growing Oyster Habitat in Tampa Bay
April 2004

Related Web Sites
Tampa Bay Watch
nonprofit stewardship program
St. Petersburg Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Audubon of Florida
National Audubon Society
NOAA Restoration Center
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

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in this issue: Research cover story:
USGS and AGI Receive Valuable Seismic Data from Chevron

Fieldwork Northeastern Caribbean Tsunami and Earthquake Hazards

Habitat Mapping to Assess Health of Apalachicola Bay Oyster Fishery

Submarine Ground-Water Discharge Along the Suwannee River Delta

Outreach USGS Scientist Featured on Television Series

Earth Day Celebration at Elementary School

Oyster-Reef Restoration

Department of Commerce Science and Technology Fellows Visit USGS

USGS and American Ground Water Trust Expand Teacher Institute Program

Youth Enrichment Service E-Team Visits USGS

Awards USGS Personnel in St. Petersburg, Florida, Win Awards

Staff & Center News Clean-Room Construction Begins at Woods Hole Science Center

USGS National Education Coordinator Visits St. Petersburg Office

Kurt Rosenberger Joins the Western Coastal and Marine Geology Team

Publications June Publications List


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