Thanks to the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program’s volunteer event with the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department at Perico Preserve on June 18th, 40 dedicated volunteers were able to move 9.75 cubic yards of cured oyster shell saved from START’s GCORR “Shuck ‘N Save” Restaurants nearly a half mile from the shell storage area to the water to start a new oyster reef. This was quite a feat by the volunteers as it translates to a total load weighing 6.2 tons. When planted in the water, all this shell enabled the workers to create an oyster bar of 301 linear feet averaging about 3.5 wide and 3 inches high. To build the new reef, the volunteers had to fill and empty 393 five-gallon buckets. That’s definitely some very hard, but satisfying work given the impressive results.
Among the 40 volunteers was a group of 15 from PGT Windows and Doors who drove all the way from Venice to participate in the event. The oyster working group was treated to a delicious sustainable lunch form the Chiles Restaurant Group (the Beach House, Mar Vista and The Sandbar) who are the three Charter restaurants of the eleven participating “Shuck ‘N Save Restaurants that will keep over 70 tons of shell out of our landfills as garbage this year and allow it to be used as the base for new oyster reefs. The other participating “Shuck ‘N Save” Restaurants are the four Anna Maria Oyster Bars, Pier 22, the Grove at Lakewood Ranch, the Seafood Shack and the Swordfish Grill. Please patronize these restaurants whenever you can to thank them for taking the time and effort to make the shell from their diners available for this award-winning marine environmental project.