Fort Myers Oyster Habitat Installations
October 26, 2019
Fort Myers Residents in Ward 5 Eligible for Oyster Habitat Discounts
Residents of Ward 5 in Fort Myers are now eligible for a matching donation to receive locally-made, all natural, oyster habitats from The Florida Fishery Foundation. The Foundation installed 44 oyster habitats in the Caloosahatchie River at Centennial Park and Riverside Community Center piers on October 26.
For a tax-deductible donation of $125, residents of Ward 5 will receive an oyster habitat installed under their dock. However, as a result of significant product improvements and sustainable sourcing efforts, this matching donation level gift will be increasing on November 15th to $197.50.
For those who are not residents of Ward 5, an oyster habitat gift and installation can be received for a tax-deductible donation of $395. Proceeds from donations related to these oyster habitats are going towards the construction of a fish grow-out facility located on Pine Island, designed to support and replenish our local fishery.
Dr. Michael Dreikorn, board member of the Florida Fishery Foundation, said, “Oysters are natural filters, removing impurities from the water just by the way they circulate water through their bodies. Each of our habitats has the potential to clean up-to 50,000 gallons of water per day, or up to 18 million gallons of water per year. That is simply amazing.”
In addition to cleaning the waterways, habitats also attract more than 100 species of small fish and other crustaceans which then attract larger game fish. This eventually creates a natural reef environment around the habitats, and as described by Dreikorn, “becomes a fish magnet”.
Fred Berson, Fort Myers City Councilman for Ward 5, said, “We are thrilled with these oyster habitats and look forward to seeing them develop and grow. Anything we can do to clean up the Caloosahatchee River and our surrounding waterways is a step in the right direction.” He encouraged local homeowners to help with the clean-up efforts and take advantage of the Ward 5 matching donation program by having oyster habitats installed under their own docks.
Dr. Dreikorn added, “It’s no secret that we have faced challenges in our waterways with red tide, blue green algae and releases from Lake Okeechobee. We wanted to come up with a way to do something to clean up our waters and make them safe for people, fish and other marine life.”
Habitat frames are constructed of 100% natural cedar, similar to age-old lobster and crab traps. The substrate is made from concrete and recycled oyster shells donated by local restaurants. Installers secure habitats in place with four separate heavy duty ropes, which are secured to the dock and/or pilings.
The Foundation is a non-profit 501C3 organization.
For more information: www.FloridaFisheryFoundation.org.