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'Living Shoreline' being built on St. Pete waterfront to protect area from continued erosion

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Posted at 6:37 PM, Dec 15, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Volunteers are working to build a “living shoreline” along an area of Lassing Park in St. Pete to help protect and restore the waterfront.

The City of St. Petersburg and the St. Petersburg Parks & Recreation, in partnership with the Tampa Bay Watch, says the mission is to help stabilize about 700 feet of the severely eroding shoreline.

The project will include nearly 800 artificial reef balls that feature holes where oysters can attach to the inside, creating a living shoreline.

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Biologists say oysters on each ball can filter red tide causing toxins out of 50,000 gallons of water a day, as well as prevent the shoreline from erosion.

"Historically we’ve lost about 80-85 percent of our oyster communities that used to be out in the bay filtering the water. So now we look at every opportunity that we can to find shoreline areas where we can restore these oyster communities," said Peter Clark, Tampa Bay Watch CEO.

Along with the reef balls, shell bags, and marine grass will be planted in the area to further protect the shore and water. This project is expected to be finished in 2023.

Tampa Bay Watch is always looking for volunteers. If you're interested in helping with restoration projects visit: TampaBayWatch.org.