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Updated: 02/20/2014 02:26:04PM

Volunteering on the half shell

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The Nature Conservancy’s director of marine conservation in Florida, Anne Birch, demonstrates a sample oyster mat at the Charlotte Harbor Estuary near Punta Gorda. Charlotte Harbor was selected by the conservancy for oyster reef restoration because it is a priority area that plays an important role in restoring the overall health of the Gulf of Mexico. This restoration project will install mats of cleaned and dried oyster shells in the intertidal waters where the Peace River enters Charlotte Harbor. The mats of shells will form the foundation of a new reef that will be covered with living oysters within two to three years.


Volunteers help to restore oyster reefs by deploying restoration mats in coastal areas like this one on the east coast of Florida.


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PUNTA GORDA — Most folks carry loose change or an extra umbrella in their cars. City planner Joan LeBeau carries oyster shells.

“I carry it in the car when I’m going places so I can show the groups what we’re doing,” LeBeau said. “It’s very cool.”

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