PALM BAY – Palm Bay, Brevard County, that state of Florida and Restore our Shores officials presented the recently constructed and installed Cape Malabar Oyster Reef and Living Shoreline Educational Kiosks on the shores of the Indian River at RiverView Senior Resort in Palm Bay on May 17.
The Oyster Reef and Living Shoreline Kiosks represent one of the first and largest conservation reef project installed to date by Restore our Shores using funding from the Brevard County Save our Lagoon tax and additional funding from the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program.
“Brevard County is very proud to be a part of this project,” said Jane Hart, Brevard County Natural Resources Management. “This was the very first oyster reef the Save our Lagoon project plan dollars went to and we look forward to many more miles of living shoreline going in over the next ten years.”
Ms. Hart is an environmental scientist who designed the Restore our Shores oyster gardening project and then coordinated with Brevard Zoo for implementation and the incorporation of gardened oysters into living shoreline oyster bars.
“This is one of the only sites in the county where we are seeing natural recruitment of oysters,” said Jody Palmer, Restore our Shores Director of Conservation. “Oysters are filter feeders so they are going to be cleaning all of the impurities out of the water. What’s fabulous is that wherever you have oysters, you have cleaner water.”
The Cape Malabar reef is 320 feet long, 6 feet wide and contains 1,250 oyster bags with more than 70,000 oysters. Because Cape Malabar extends into the Indian River, the land creates a natural barrier channeling more water that can flow through the oyster reef.
Palm Bay Deputy Mayor Brian Anderson also spoke and indicated that the City of Palm Bay is working with Restore our Shores of the Brevard County Natural Resources Department to install additional oyster reefs along the Indian River in Palm Bay.
“The legislature working very hard to come up with the right solutions to fix the problem,” said Randy Fine, District 53 State Representative. “This year, we have a record amount of funding, $678 million that will go to solve water problems in the State of Florida. This problem was cause by us and it is only going to be able to be fixed by us. And it’s going to take all of us working together.”
On behalf of property owner, Steve Ciancio, RiverView Senior Resort representative Mike McBride dedicated the Cape Malabar Living Shoreline exhibit to the many past, present and future volunteers needed to save our Lagoon. The three permanent Living Shoreline Educational kiosks can be accessed by the public near the Cape Malabar pier.
For more information, call (321) 952-3400 or visit www.palmbayflorida.org.