COS Knights Give Back Through Oyster Restoration
On Saturday, Oct. 3, Volunteer UCF held its annual day of service, Knights Give Back. The UCF College of Sciences Alumni Chapter and Dr. Linda Walters, professor in the UCF Biology Department, held one of several service projects, bringing 100 UCF students and alumni volunteers together for an important cause.
Volunteers gathered at the UCF Biology Field and Research Center to help restore degraded shorelines and oyster reefs in the Indian River Lagoon. This is done by creating “living shorelines” and by deploying oyster mats in areas where reefs used to exist. Volunteers helped prepare materials for future deployments by planting/transporting mangroves and marsh grass, and creating oyster restoration mats. Dr. Linda Walters, professor in the UCF Biology Department, organized the project to help restore degraded shorelines and oyster reefs in the Indian River Lagoon.
Oysters are an essential species in estuaries to filter water remove nitrogen, protect shorelines, and provide food and hiding places for juvenile fishes, shrimp and crabs. Living shorelines provide better long-term, economical protection of the area in terms of sea level rise, as well as the ability to stop erosion by accreting sediments. The UCF College of Sciences and the UCF Biology Department were excited to contribute to the effective project.
(Event Photo Slideshow)
Project and event supplies were made possible through CSX, supporter of UCF’s estuary programs. This summer, the CSX Reef began on May 23 within the boundaries of Canaveral National Seashore. The CSX Reef was completed a month later, on June 24. About 40 volunteers, who represent UCF, Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program, New Smyrna Beach Marine Discovery Center, Brevard Zoo, and citizens of Brevard and Volusia Counties, leveled the dead reef and deployed the oyster mats that were created during the October 2014 Knights Give Back community service project that CSX helped fund. New oysters have already begun to colonize this reef that currently holds 952 mats.