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Lone Cabbage Key restoration planned

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By Rebecca Gallagher
Beacon Correspondent

UF/IFAS held a forum Oct. 26 to discuss a project to restore an oyster reef known as Lone Cabbage Key. The project is a collaborative effort with U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the University of Florida.

Dr. Bill Pine started the forum by explaining why the project is needed. He showed historical aerial photographs of Lone Cabbage Key in the 1800’s and now. The degradation of the reef was astonishing. Pine said that in the last 30 years the offshore, near shore and inshore reefs had decreased in size by 88 percent, 61 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

Pine pointed out after all possible reasons for the degradation of the oyster reefs had been considered, scientists believe the decrease of fresh water flow into the Gulf was the culprit. He further explained, “The oyster reefs parallel the shoreline and act like leaky damns resulting water with intermediate salinity.” The mid-salinity waters support estuaries, providing a favorable environment for birds and mammals to live, feed and reproduce.


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