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New Projects Will Restore Habitat in the Southeast
The NOAA Restoration Center is partnering with the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership this year by investing more than $200,000 in four habitat restoration projects in the southeastern U.S. The projects will restore shorelines along the south Atlantic by planting native vegetation and establishing or repairing oyster reefs. Volunteers will be involved with each of the projects – people who NOAA hopes will continue to care for these projects for years to come.
The projects funded through the partnership this year include:
- Community-based and larger-scale oyster restoration – Edisto Island, South Carolina
This oyster restoration will restore intertidal oyster reef habitat in the Ashepoo-Combahee-Edisto (ACE) Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve. Community volunteers will collect and bag recycled shells to create new oyster reefs. The project, which is being carried out by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, will also protect tidal salt marsh and provide habitat for the Eastern Oyster and several important recreational and commercial fish species.
- Ulele Springs Restoration Project – Tampa Bay, Florida
The Ecosphere Restoration Institute will restore a critical freshwater spring system habitat along the Hillsborough River in Tampa Bay, Florida. Currently, a pipe system diverts water from the spring and delivers it directly to the bay. This project will remove the pipe system, allowing the streambed to flow more naturally and restoring habitat. The project will restore a streambed, in an effort to restore estuarine and freshwater habitat between the spring and the bay.
- Mosquito Lagoon Oyster Restoration – Volusia County, Florida
This phase of the project will restore oyster reef habitat in the Mosquito Lagoon Aquatic Preserve and Canaveral National Seashore in Florida. The Brevard Zoo will work with volunteers to deploy approximately 1,500 oyster mats to help stabilize the intertidal reef system. The Lagoon provides habitat for the West Indian manatee, which is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, and other species including brown pelican and several wading birds.
- Port Orange Living Shoreline Restoration Project – Port Orange, Florida
The Marine Discovery Center will restore almost an acre of shoreline habitat to benefit a mosaic of upland, salt marsh, and oyster reef habitat. The project will focus on shoreline stabilization efforts including the removal of invasive species, oyster reef creation, and planting native vegetation. Volunteers will assist with the plantings and oyster mats.