New system will help oysters flourish, decontaminate water

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Photo by WINK News.

People typically think of oysters as a delicacy, but they maintain our water quality. The City of Naples is installing new concrete apparatus so the mollusks can flourish.

Cranes pull concrete spheres into the water in a project underway pushing for better water quality.

“Naples Bay has lost about 80 percent of its oyster reef due to urbanization,” said Dr. Stephanie Molloy, manager of the Natural Resources Dept. for the City of Naples. “We’re trying to restore the oyster reef.”

Oysters are nature’s filter feeders. The intent here is to repopulate the water with them. Molloy told WINK News that one oyster could filter about 40 gallons of water a day, including any contaminants in the water.

“They’re made up of rock and shell so it’s a hard substrate, which allows the juvenile oyster to attach to at the swimming stage and they attach to the hard substrate and stay there for the rest of their lives as adult,” Molly said.

The city has put forward $500,000 for this project with matching funds from state and federal agencies. There are three sites, two of which will use up the funding, one of them south of Windstar and another north of the 41 bridge.

If all goes well, the people behind the project expects fishers to enjoy a spike in fish population. Also for marine mammals, like manatees and dolphins, to swim in cleaner water.

“They help protect the bay from boat wake and storm surge and the oyster reefs will provide habitat for other invertebrates and fish life,” Molly said.

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