Be a volunteer monitoring oyster reefs & seagrass in northwest Florida!
The Aquatic Habitat Conservation and Restoration Program of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is seeking volunteers, including college students, to join us this summer and fall in work on the Oyster Reef Habitat Restoration project in St. Andrew Bay, located in Bay County in northwest Florida. This project, funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, is designed to restore over 4 acres of oyster reef habitat and foster the recovery of over 200 acres of seagrass habitat. The goals of this effort include enhancing the local oyster population and creating fisheries habitat. The improved oyster population also should improve water clarity and quality in the bay.
You will be assisting FWC staff, who are gathering data on how the project is progressing. There will be 21 opportunities to volunteer between Aug. 9 and Oct. 9, divided among three different sessions.
- Session 1: You can help record the coverage of oysters on reefs and the height of the reefs. This session will involve swimming and walking over the reefs, with one person remaining on the boat to record data. In Session 1, you can choose to volunteer on these days: August 9, 10, 14, 16, 17, 23 and 24; September 6 and 7.
- Session 2: You can help sample seagrass coverage, which will involve swimming and wading in the shallows off the western shore of West Bay, which is part of St. Andrew Bay. In Session 2, you can choose to volunteer on these days: September 11, 13, 14, 18 and 20.
- Session 3: You will help examine oyster reef monitoring units placed next to the reefs last fall. You will help collect and record information that will give us an idea of oyster reef health, including oyster density and size, and occurrence of associated species. Volunteers will not be required to swim. In Session 3, you can choose to volunteer on these days: September 21, 25, 27 and 28; October 2, 4, 5 and 9.
Where and when?
The time slots for these volunteer opportunities are 9 AM – 3 PM. Please set aside the entire time. While it is possible to bring someone back to the dock early, this will affect our time on the water. For every date listed, FWC staff with meet you and other volunteers at B.V. Buchanan Park and Public Boat Ramp, https://www.theonlinefisherman.com/florida-boat-ramps/bv-buchanan-park-and-public-boat-ramp, at 8:45 a.m. so we can leave promptly at 9 a.m. We will return to the boat ramp at 3 p.m. What should you bring? Water, lunch, closed-toe water shoes (or shoes you don’t mind getting wet), sunscreen and also a mask and snorkel if you have them. Work gloves will be provided.
How do I sign up?
- Please sign up for a specific time slot at: http://signup.com/go/qYUCpCV
- Review the options and choose the spot(s) you like.
- Sign up! It’s Easy – you will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on SignUp.com.
- Questions? Please contact Jacob Berninger at (850) 510-9036.