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Chicken Island demo project

This is a Volusia County Environmental Management (VCEM) Project, which was funded by a grant from the St. Johns River Water Management District’s Indian River Lagoon License Plate Tag Program. The goal of the initiative is to conduct a demonstration project using several types of restoration techniques to: 1) inhibit shoreline erosion through red mangrove plantings and to 2) increase oyster reefs by providing substrate for oyster spat to adhere and develop into fully grown oysters. Using several techniques will help scientists evaluate which method may be effective under varying circumstances.

Oysters are filter feeders and help to make our estuaries healthier by filtering the estuary water. One oyster can filter up to 60 gallons of water per day. Red mangroves have elaborate root systems that assist in the accretion of detritus, and they provide food and habitat for many different species. Oysters and mangroves together form a significant barrier to shoreline erosion.

We held an initial educational program at the Marine Discovery Center (MDC) in New Smyrna Beach, to inform residents and visitors about the demonstration project, and to provide educational materials about estuaries. Many volunteers from the community were enlisted to help deploy the reef balls, plant the red mangroves, and afterwards to monitor the project.

A consultant from the Reef Ball Foundation, a consultant from Allshouse and Associates, and MDC staff worked together with VCEM staff to successfully implement this project.

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