March 2021 Update
In mid March, volunteers from SMRK began phase two of our Living Shoreline deployment, which was delayed in 2020 due to COVID.
The process began with UNF students Hunter Mathews and Chris Kurtz collecting 100 gallons of oyster shells as part of the Oyster Shell Recycling program at Guana Tolomato National Estuarine Research Reserve in St. Johns County, FL. These shells are collected from participating restaurants and then recycled to reconstruct eroded shorelines.
Volunteers from SMRK collected the shells from Guana then traveled to UNF to collect 50+ crab traps, which UNF students had collected over the previous year.
This tremendous trailer of traps was quite a site traveling north on I-95!
After the journey, the traps were safely delivered to a staging location at White Oak for processing.
Volunteers will soon prep based on key learnings from phase one. Once the traps are ready for deployment, more volunteers will complete the living shoreline installation and the traps will have a new life as a sanctuary for oysters to grow.
Oysters are important in the River because they protect the shoreline from erosion, while also helping to filter and clean water.
We look forward to seeing the new colonies take shape. Many thanks to everyone who is participating!