An edition of: WaterAtlas.orgPresented By: USF Water Institute

Water-Related News

More oyster gardens installed enhancing Longboat Key green initiatives

Vertical oyster gardens, though simple in structure, can improve water quality and provide habitats for marine life.

The strings of oyster shells hanging from the docks at Bayfront Park may not look like much now. But over the next few years, those simple structures could evolve into hubs for crucial filter feeder organisms.

Forty vertical Oyster Gardens were installed by Oyster Boys Conservation on June 2. The project is one of Longboat Key’s latest green initiatives in collaboration with the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program. The town has been partnered with SBEP for over three decades, according to the organization's executive director, David Tomasko.

Each VOG contains 20 recycled oyster shells, meaning the project at Bayfront Park brought a total of 800 oyster shells. Oyster larvae tend to grow on existing oysters, so the goal of VOGs is to promote the recruitment of oyster larvae and other organisms such as sponges and fish.

“These vertical oyster gardens are a great way to get more habitat complexity, and also to have a little bit more filter feeders in the water,” Tomasko said.