The City of St. Petersburg and the St. Petersburg Parks & Recreation Department, in partnership with the Tampa Bay Watch, is kicking off the living shoreline project at Lassing Park, Beach Dr. SE & 18th Ave. S. The project could help stabilize 700 feet of eroding shoreline.
It’s also providing hard bottom habitats for fish and wildlife resources and promoting water quality improvements in the Tampa Bay ecosystem. On Earth Day, Tampa Bay Watch and 100+ volunteers installed 10 tons oyster shell reef, 100 oyster Reef Balls and 2000 salt marsh grasses at Lassing Park in St. Pete.
“Our St. Petersburg Parks & Recreation team and Tampa Bay Watch have partnered on this effort to address severe erosion and protect our precious parkland.” wrote Council Vice Chair and District 6 Representative Gina Driscoll.
The project includes the creation of oyster reefs and the installation of coastal wetland plants along the northeastern shoreline of Lassing Park.
Restoring Eastern oyster habitats in the bay
The total project requires 100 tons of fossilized shell and 792 oyster reef balls to construct 8,384 sq. ft. of new oyster communities. A second layer of 3,184 sq. ft. of bagged fossilized shell will be added to give the oyster communities more relief.
The Lo-Pro Reef Ball oyster reef balls are constructed of marine-friendly concrete, weighing about 200 lbs. each. The reef balls feature holes where oyster larvae can enter and attach to the inside, creating a productive habitat while preventing erosion threatening the shoreline.
The Community Oyster Reed Enhancement (CORE) program, led by Tampa Bay Watch, helps restore lost Eastern Oyster habitats in the bay. Oysters act as engineers in creating habitats that attract other sea creatures, which then provides diverse food sources for a variety of wildlife. Oyster reefs also function as a natural shoreline and cleansing system with a single oyster filtering up to 50 gallons of water a day.
The project is ongoing and expected to be completed in Spring 2023. For more information, contact the St. Petersburg Parks & Recreation Department at 727-893-7441 or visit their website.