The Friends of Rookery Bay led a very successful reef restoration event in September at the Cocohatchee River estuary in North Naples. There were 45 volunteers, including 20 local Boy Scouts from Troop 243 who assisted their colleague John Spilker achieve credit for his Eagle Scout award.
In 2014 the Friends secured a grant from Walmart Foundation for $25,000 to design, permit, and conduct an oyster restoration project. One year later, Florida Gulf Coast University, the Estuary Conservation Association, Pelican Isle Yacht Club, Scout Troop 243, Naples Marina, and the Marco Island Fishing Club assisted with the effort.
Two shallow reefs were constructed using 400 bags of fossil shells dating back over 4 million years. Research conducted by FGCU has demonstrated that, within a year’s time, the shell bags will become an important substrate for the settling of live oysters that eventually colonize the reef, improving water quality through filter feeding, and creating habitat for fish and shellfish.
This opportunity was a great win-win for the community and the environment. Learn more about the Friends of Rookery Bay at www.rookerybay.org.