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Gus’ Crabby Adventures, LLC pledges to donate future profits to Jan K. Platt Environment Lands Acquisition Protection Program (ELAPP).
Seawall Oyster Reefs
Littoral Shoreline Restoration Habitat
1989 Seawall Oyster Reef Monitoring Project Ongoing Seawall Reef-oyster-sediment-red mangrove study since 1989 at Bay Chop Villa.
Restoration of shoreline habitat in front of bulkhead areas with
oysters and red mangroves repairs the edge habitats for upland
and marine species lost by dredge and fill operations.
Where oysters stop growing upward is called the MHW line
(mean high water) and separates upland vegetation
(mangroves and spartina) from underwater seagrasses.
There are 3 types of mangroves...red, white, and black. The red
mangroves (their roots look like spider leg walking trees)
are unique because as trees mature to adult trees
they walk to the MLW (mean low water) line.
Oysters then grow on their roots creating the habitat
for fish and wading birds. This shallow area
where land meets the water is called littoral zone.
An oyster bed is unique because its mass grows upward
until reaching MHW and footprint enlarge through a
process called WAR (wave action rocking) factor.
Promising Environmental Project Coming to ApolloBeach
By Melody JamesonJan 13, 2005
— A pilot habitat project that may raise survival odds for valued marine
life while enhancing human environments is coming to this bustling
suburban community. The project funded by two Tampa Bay agencies seeks
to demonstrate that once-bare seawall sites can be restored to natural
habitat for numerous swimming and flying species without eliminating the
structure, using man-made reef starter. And local residents are being
invited to participate in the demonstration program holding promise for
widespread positive environmental impacts.
The study endeavor, officially known as the South Shore Intertidal
Habitat Project, has been funded by $12,500 in grants from the Tampa
Bay Estuary Program and the Tampa Bay Port Authority, according to its
director, Gus Muench, a Ruskin-based marine conservationist.
Specific objectives of the study include determining feasibility of seawall
reefs for habitat in waterfront community canals, salinity ranges in canals
and community-based education to introduce importance of oyster
ecosystems. The two-part project is expected to span two years, Muench
said. Working with Muench, as project coordinators and technical
advisors, are Dr. Ann Hodgson of Apollo Beach , a wildlife ecologist,
Robin Lewis of Salt Springs, Florida , who now heads an environmental
services firm, and Ann Paul of Tampa , acting manager of coastal island
sanctuaries in Florida waters for Audubon of Florida.
Essentially, the Apollo Beach project consists of securing light-weight,
highly portable reef skeletons constructed of man-made material that
become the framework for reef development at barren seawalls which line
the waterfront community's numerous canals where there is no underwater
littoral shelf to support plant and marine life, Muench explained.
Over a period of months, it is believed that the reef skeletons secured
below the waterline will attract algae and other tiny marine organisms as
well as oysters which attach to and accumulate on the framework. The
natural water intake/output action of the oysters, in turn, coats the
gradually growing reef with silt that, in turn, attracts fish, some of which
support water fowl, the director said. Eventually, he added, the growing
natural reef with a man-made core is expected to become rooting material
for mangrove stands which encourage even more abundant sea life of
The seawall oyster reef is considered a potential alternative for use of
limerock rip rap as bulkhead habitat. Apollo Beach is ideally suited to the
demonstration project's requirements because of the salinity level of the
brackish water in the canal systems, Muench said. However, not all
residential properties fronting on the canals are ideal for the pilot
program, he added. "We're looking for 50 to 60 homeowners whose canal
front properties have seawalls that are bare to serve as sites for reef
installations," the program director stated. The underwater reef skeletons
are secured at the vacant seawall sites with steel rods and require about
30 minutes each for installation. The created reefs can be destroyed by
removing the core from the site, Muench indicated, but in most instances
they are expected to become permanent fixtures along the canal seawalls
where they are sited. The reef core made of a safe poly material in a
screen-like format weighs about nine pounds when constructed but once it
begins to accumulate oyster shell and silt it can attain a weight of some 90
pounds before plant life takes root in it, he said.
Muench, a Tampa native and lifelong fisherman who built a home on the
south shore of the Little Manatee River after a telephone company career,
began experimenting with reef designs in the mid-1980s. Over the years,
his efforts have evolved into an oyster-based concept using polyethylene
mesh cylinders lashed together to form a light weight, durable but uneven
surface that marine life easily can move in and out of or rest in or
colonize as the reef takes shape and grows. "I'm convinced," he asserted
"that we can transform and return many of the dredged canals lined with
concrete seawalls along our coastlines to the natural habitat needed by all
sorts of marine and waterway wildlife. And I think we can demonstrate it
in Apollo Beach ." In addition, he pointed out that man as well as wildlife
benefit from such restoration. Enhanced and increased habitat means more
and more varied fish, more active bird populations and more attractive,
natural looking shorelines, he said. What's more, oyster populations filter
water, removing some pollutants, and one of the state's bird species of
concern — the American Oyster Catcher — feeds on the bivalve.
In addition, AB homeowners participating in the pilot project could
become eligible for cash awards under the Habitat Diamond Awards
program Muench established in 2004.
To obtain information and to become involved in the demonstration project
as a homeowner with a seawall or as a volunteer, Muench asked thatApollo Beach residents contact him by telephone at 813/645-6063 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Reef beginning Sept 1989
Ron Schmeid NMFS
Same location Feb. 2006Manatee Ave, Ruskin
4" high red mangrove reefs
Alafia River H.C. Williams Park Fishing PierSeawall Reefs