The proposed project to increase the population of domestic oysters, leading to cleaner waterways at Coral Gables, received support during a city commission meeting on Tuesday.
Under the auspices of Deputy Mayor Vince Lag, the project is asking the community to engage in creating habitat for native oysters, the purpose of which is to help restore the city’s waterways and ecosystems.
“This is just another opportunity to deliver clean water in the next few years,” Mr. Lago said.
With less than 1% of native oysters living along the coasts and waterways of South Florida, the lack of habitat prevents these oysters from thriving and really helping clean up the waterways, said Alberto Aran, who leads the project.
With 21 different basins flowing into Biscayne Bay, domestic oysters will dissolve more levels of nitrogen waste in waterways and reduce nutrient loads in seagrass regrowth, which has fallen by over 85% since 2011, Mr Aran said.
“The first thing I want to do is add live oysters that can help act as a parent colony, and then add oyster lines below the dock, in areas that won’t affect navigation, to add extra habitat,” he said.
The project, which would use domestic oysters as a remedy against algae blooms, would require residents to place vertical oyster gardens under privately owned docks and shaded areas with at least 100 oysters, which will filter about 5,000 liters of water, Mr Aran explained. “We would create community effort and collect oysters from the restaurant industry.”
“If I had a dream list, I would love a place where we could determine where oysters are deposited like an event and have a place or piece of land that will secure those oysters,” Mr. Aran said.
The city will cost nothing, said Mr. Lago, who added that he would personally get involved and contribute financially. “This allows residents to do something good for the community. It will not be a mandate, but just an opportunity to get involved and engage. “