The Indian River Lagoon (IRL) has experienced an increase in urbanization and freshwater discharge, which has led to an increase in algal blooms, subsequently decreasing oyster reefs and seagrass beds. In order to combat these changes, Florida Oceanographic and Florida Tech have collaborated to expand the Living Docks Program to the southern half of the IRL, including the St. Lucie Estuary.
A Living Dock consists of 6 - 10 mats made from aquaculture grade mesh, with 60 - 80 dried oyster shells, which are then attached to dock pilings. The chemical composition in the shells attracts oysters, as well as other bivalves through chemical cues, and acts as natural habitat for filter-feeding organisms to settle on. In return, these communities will attract larger organisms such as fish, dolphins, and turtles, creating a diverse ecosystem.
The creation and deployment of the oyster mats is fully inclusive with both children and adults participating in the process. The Living Docks project is driven by citizens and the utilization of their docks for placement of oyster restoration mats in the IRL. Projects such as Living Docks that are at a local scale and manageable by the general public of all ages, are one way that the public can get involved and make a difference.
Do you own or have access to a private dock in the St. Lucie Estuary or Southern Indian River Lagoon? Are you interested in helping restore the lagoon? Do you want to increase biodiversity of marine animals in your backyard? If you answered yes to all of these questions, please fill out the following form to join our program. We hope to work with you in the future!
Watch Water Ambassador Lunch and Learn Webinar: Living Docks & Oyster Gardening