Oyster shells dumped into Turtle Bay to improve water quality

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There’s a clean-up underway on one of our waterways, but to some, it might look like trash is getting dumped there. Actually, these are recycled oyster shells, and they are helping improve water quality.

By dumping 22 1/2 tons of oyster shells into the water, the hope is to build on an existing reef.

“And this oyster shell, as it sits in the water column, will attract baby oysters,” said Adam Miller, CEO of the Coastal Conservation Association of Florida. “They get stuck in those grooves and holes, and that’s essentially how we create a new oyster reef.”

He calls it a plus for the water and oysters.

“We have a 90% loss oysters in this area,” he said, “and one of their biggest things that they do is filter water. They’re a water filtering powerhouse.”

Mike Campbell, executive director of Southwest Florida’s Reefs, said this pile of oyster shells could have a tremendous amount.

“A large adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day,” he said, “so if you think about it, each shell that we’re putting in the water can hold three or four oysters, they grow in clumps, so that’s going to be millions of gallons of water a day being filtered.”

This good work is a group effort. The shells were collected by the Clermont Oyster Bar over six months, and Abbott Construction donated their time and equipment to get these shells into the water.

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