Oyster Drill Picking Party and Beach Cleanup at Deadman’s Island

Beach Clean Up in Gulf BreezeA Beach Cleanup and Oyster Drill Picking Party is scheduled for Saturday July 16, 2011 from 9 am to 12 pm at Wayside Park Gulf Breeze Boat Ramp for a boat shuttle to Deadman’s Island.

We are cleaning up the beach and swimming area for people to enjoy. Oyster drills are a vital part of the oyster reef ecosystem. Oyster drills feed on oysters.

A dead oyster leaves a substrate for new oysters to settle and provides habitat for small fish. They give the reef a balance. Unfortunately, last year there was a die off of the oyster reef and the oyster tissue when tested contained Petroleum Hydrocarbons in the DIESEL range. This March, the salinity levels in the bay became so high the oyster drill population and eggs increased and the already weakened reef ecosystem and the new settling spat are being consumed by the drills. Normally, it’s good to let nature recover on its own, especially by naturally removing contaminated oysters. However, at this rate it will be another spat season or two to start the recovery process.
Saturday’s event will help give the reef ecosystem a boost by removing as many oyster drills as possible to allow the weakened reef to rebuild. Some of Oyster drill tissue will be sent to the lab for testing of the presence of hydrocarbons.

How fast an oyster drill consumes and moves from one area to another is unknown- we are going to catch about twenty oyster drills and mark them with a special adhesive and number to monitor the migration patterns and rate of travel.

So come on out and enjoy the day at Deadman’s Island! bring your snorkel gear, gloves and if have one, a bucket and of course waterproof sunscreen.

Lunch and drinks will be served by ours sponsors. Please RSVP (850) 346-2073  so I know how many sandwiches to order.

If you want to rent a paddle board to go to Deadman’s Island, here is the address to Coastal Paddle company next to the Boat ramp! http://www.coastalpaddlecompany.com/

For more information about this project visit:

Contact Information:

Heather Reed
Project Manager
The City of Gulf Breeze Deadman's Island Restoration Project
Ecological Consulting Services Inc
38 S Blue Angel Parkway #346
Pensacola FL 32506
850-417-7008
850-346-2073 (cell preferred)

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