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The purpose of this site is to provide information and updates about this important habitat restoration project in Martin and Palm Beach Counties.
The Oyster Reef Restoration project involves the placement of more than 30 million pounds of cultch – which is typically made up of fossilized shell, coral or other similar materials produced by living organisms designed to provide points of attachment for oysters - that will be distributed within the St. Lucie Estuary and the Northwest Fork of the Loxahatchee River. The purpose of the cultch is to provide habitat for oyster colonization.
Oyster habitat is vital to the health of an estuary, effectively filtering nutrients, fine sediments and toxins from the water column. They support critical fisheries and protected resources, improve water quality and protect shorelines. Oysters are an indicator species, meaning that their presence in the water can be used to gather information on the overall health of the estuary. Within the last 50 years, the oyster coverage that was historically present in the two estuaries has declined by as much as 75 percent.