Estuary Conservation Association, Inc. &
Friends of Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park
Restoring Oyster Reefs in Southwest Florida
Tuesday, April 12
7:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park
Dr. Michael Savarese, Professor of Marine Science at Florida Gulf Coast University’s Coastal Watershed Institute since 1997, will discuss recent oyster reef restoration projects in the Cocohatchee River Estuary designed to provide refuge for wildlife and enhance water quality. Dr. Savarese served as the lead scientist for the construction of three reefs placed in local coastal waters over the last two years.
Commodore Tom Marmen wrote a letter to Pelican Isle members who do not belong to ECA. The letter is below
Dear Fellow Members,
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Pelican Isle Yacht Club (PIYC), I would like to bring something very important to your attention – particularly to our newer members. We are so fortunate to be located on the Cocohatchee River, close to Wiggins Pass. However, as our long time members are aware, clean waters and a navigable pass are not a “given” but something that requires constant attention and significant political involvement by our members. By having navigable water, we ensure our Yacht Club will continue to grow.
The only organization monitoring the health of the Cocohatchee estuary and Wiggins Pass is the Estuary Conservation Association, Inc. (ECA). The ECA is a state chartered, non-profit organization which monitors water quality, navigation through the pass and the overall health of the flora and fauna in the estuary. The ECA works closely with Collier County government including the Board of County Commissioners and the Office of Coastal Zone Management and played a key part in the five year process to redesign and enhance the Pass. Each year, the ECA sponsors a public series of educational “Gulf Forums” on a variety of water related topics. Having attended some of the forums, I can highly recommend them. Their plans for the future include enhancing the recreational use of the estuary and increasing the fish and shellfish populations by building new oyster reefs.
There’s a financial aspect to these activities as well. We’re all co-owners of the Club and many of us have slips or own condominiums within or near the estuary. If this beautiful area isn’t kept pristine and if the Wiggins Pass became un-navigable, the value of all the adjacent property will decline.
The ECA conducts its annual membership drive at this time each year and copy of their membership application is available by downloading: ECA Membership Application 2015 . For your convenience, you may drop off your completed form and check with the PIYC receptionist. Thank you for your support.
I encourage you to join the ECA and participate in and support this organization. A significant number of our Club members already belong and I would like to see that portion become 100%. To learn more about the ECA, their website is www.estuaryconservation.org.
Thank you for your consideration.
Oyster Reef Restoration Project
Research ECA provided funding to Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) scientists to conduct investigations of environmental conditions within the Cocohatchee estuary, to guide site selection for the restoration of oyster reefs. FGCU has successfully restored living reefs in similar estuaries in Southwest Florida. The benefits of restoring reefs are well documented, including improved water clarity due to filter feeding of living oysters, and providing exceptional refuge for marine animals such as stone crabs, shrimp, and inshore fish.
Restoration ECA is now working with Matt Wright, an Eagle Scout candidate in Naples, and local Troop 2 of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), to support and sponsor a small-scale oyster reef restoration project within the Cocohatchee estuary, utilizing FGCU’s research results obtained from ECA’s sponsored study described above.
The restoration project involves three phases:
- Planning and regulatory review: The selected restoration site requires review by the State of Florida. Preliminary review has indicated that the project qualifies for exemption due to the small scale and public benefits associated with the restoration.
- Oyster shell bag construction: Working with volunteers from FGCU and BSA, Matt will lead work to fill an estimated 300 mesh bags purchased by ECA, with fossil shell donated by FGCU. The Pelican Isle Yacht Club will serve as the staging area for the restoration.
- Reef Construction: Scheduled tentatively for Saturday, May 31, Matt and volunteers from BSA and ECA will transport the shell bags via the Pelican shuttle (donated by the Pelican Isle Yacht Club) to the restoration site for construction. Volunteers will assemble the reef in an area measuring approximately 500 square feet by placing the bags on a shoaling area in the Cocohatchee estuary.
Barron Collier Jr. Foundation
THE HALSTATT CHARITABLE FOUNDATION
Florida Gulf Coast University
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Collier County Coastal Zone Management Department
Conservancy of SW Florida
Boy Scouts Troop 2 Naples
Vi at Bentley Village
Coastal Angler Magazine
The Wiggins Pass Celebration on Saturday, October 26 was a great success with over 180 people attending and speeches by ECA President Joe Moreland, Collier County Chairwoman Georgia Hiller and Naples Mayor John Sorey.
Please click the link below to watch a video of the event created by Pelican Isle Yacht Club Member George Rubin: