Brevard Zoo’s ‘Restore Our Shores’ Team Experiments with New Reef Building Material
By Space Coast Daily // September 22, 2023
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BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Brevard Zoo’s Restore Our Shores team is always looking to try new methods in its efforts to improve the Indian River Lagoon, whether it’s taking on an experimental seagrass planting project or trying out new material in their oyster restoration projects. One such new material: is coquina.
Brevard Zoo has written about their success in moving from mesh bags to build oyster reefs to gabions, cages made of galvanized steel that can hold around 30 pounds of oyster shell. We wanted to move away from plastic, which aligns with our goals of reducing plastic pollution.
Now, their Restore Our Shores team is trying a more natural material for oyster reefs with limestone rather than man-made gabions. Our team established six reef corrals –four using gabions and two using coquina– at an ideal location for oyster recruitment near the Eau Gallie River in Melbourne.
A corral involves building a border of shell-filled gabions or limestone, and then filling the middle area with loose, recycled oyster shells.
They look forward to sharing more about how these Coquina corrals fared compared to their gabion corral neighbors. Oysters provide a natural filter and habitat to the Indian River Lagoon. This makes them and other organisms like clams, seagrass, and mangroves, important to keeping this important body of water healthy.
What’s especially impressive about this project that the materials were all sourced locally. The shell comes from local restaurants thanks to their Shuck and Share program, and the coquina comes from a quarry in Titusville.
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