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Updated: 06/06/2014 08:00:03AM

Platform for improvement

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PHOTO PROVIDED

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.

PHOTO PROVIDED

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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We have many organizations in Charlotte County formed with the purpose of protecting and preserving the gem that is Charlotte Harbor and the land surrounding it. I’m not going to try to list them all, in fear of leaving one out — in this business, you don’t want to do that.

But I’m going to talk a little about the Coastal Conservation Association. Back in its heyday in the mid-1990s, the CCA was getting all kinds of attention. It was on the television. It was in the newspapers. You could hear people talking about it in local bait and tackle shops. The organization was riding a wave of momentum, and many people supported it. But like almost everything in life, things change.

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