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NOAA Helps to Shore-Up the Florida Coastline
The loss of mangroves along the coastline of MacDill Air Force Base left the Tampa Bay, Florida shoreline exposed and subject to severe erosion.
Beginning in 2004, NOAA Fisheries joined the Air Force, Tampa Baywatch, Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP), and many local volunteers for community “reef-building events.” Together, we achieved a major restoration of nearshore oyster reefs and native vegetation along the coastline to reduce wave energy, stabilize shorelines, and improve marine habitat.
The initial phases have shown significant success with several thousand concrete oyster domes and tons of oyster shells installed to create multi-section “reefs” on nearly a half-mile of shoreline. The new structures have been quickly colonized by oysters and mussels, which filter the water and provide valuable habitat for fish and other marine life.
Completion of the oyster domes for the reef wrapped up in April, 2010. Plans for projects to protect additional shoreline and augment existing reef areas are being finalized for late 2010.