The Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve told local Historic City News reporters that the oyster reef relocation project that began last year is now complete.
As part of a plan by the City of St Augustine to improve a small strip of land on Salt Run known as “Sailboat Beach”, the Research Reserve partnered with the City, Flagler College, Northeast Florida Aquatic Preserves, and local volunteers to relocate the oyster reef to create a wider water access point on Anastasia Island.
“The City of St. Augustine invited the Research Reserve to get involved with this project to preserve the oysters; instead of just removing them,” said Nikki Dix, director of research. “Our staff is experienced in oyster ecology and restoration so we were eager to help.”
GTM Research Reserve is partnering with Flagler College’s Coastal Environmental Science Program to monitor and supervise the relocated oyster reef.
The oysters were moved north and south of the access point to enhance the existing reefs in those areas. The relocation of the oysters creates a small, shallow launching area for sailboats or small non-engine watercraft. This effort reduces the potential impact on marshes and oysters at the new day access landing.
Other improvements to the launching area include a 4-foot-high by 100-foot-long fence along the western edge of the beach to provide protection and deterrence from foot traffic in the area.
Informational signs will be installed on the fence and channel markers to communicate safety, rules, regulations and vessel storage information.