Collaboration in mapping and monitoring of Florida’s oysters

By Silas Tanner & Nikki Dix

The first Oyster Integrated Mapping and Monitoring Program (OIMMP) meeting was held February 23-24 at the GTMNERR. OIMMP, which is led by the FWRI Coastal Wetlands Group, aims to inventory oyster mapping and monitoring programs around the state, enhance communication among practitioners, identify data gaps, and initiate pilot-scale mapping and monitoring studies. In recent decades, a growing demand for oysters coupled with the global decline of wild oysters has created a need to document and understand the current condition of oysters in Florida. The first workshop was attended by over 60 professionals from 25 state and federal agencies, universities and non-profits.

On Day 2 of the workshop, GTMNERR and NEAP staff took a group of FWRI researchers to a live oyster reef in St. Augustine’s Salt Run to share the common protocols being used in the northeast region of the state. The FWRI group will be taking the protocols back to St. Petersburg, FL and starting an oyster monitoring program in Tampa Bay and the surrounding area. Overall it was a good few days for the future of Florida’s oysters.

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