TAMPA - What are big and gray with lots of holes, and make Tampa Bay a healthier place? Oyster domes put into the bay by Tampa Bay Watch staff and volunteers! More than 500 of the marine-friendly concrete creations were placed into the shallow waters along Bayshore Blvd. on Monday, May 22 and Tuesday, May 23. Once established, the domes improve water quality, provide feeding and sanctuary areas for marine animals, and help protect the seawalls from storm damage and erosion.
The 75-pound oyster domes are lowered over the seawall by a crane and moved into place by volunteers. Like a natural oyster reef, the domes will be submerged at high tide and exposed at low tide, and will create habitat by encouraging oysters and other filter feeders to attach. In time, fish and invertebrates take up residence in and around the dome, adding to the health and diversity of the marine environment. And because oysters filter up to nine gallons of seawater every hour, they will continuously clean Tampa Bay by filtering storm water runoff that flows into the bay.
The oyster dome project is a great example of community involvement that makes a real difference . . . it's also muddy, messy, and fun!
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