Oyster reefs are built primarily by the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica). Oyster reefs are built via the successive reproduction and settlement of larvae onto hard structures such as existing oyster reefs, pilings, rocks, downed trees and recycled oyster shell. Thus, with continued settlement and subsequent generational growth, oysters may form massive reef structures in estuarine systems.
Thanks to generous funding from the Environmental Protection Agency's Gulf of Mexico Program, the Florida Coastal Management Program, the Garcon Point Restoration Trust Fund, the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Ocean's Initiative, the DEP seagrass restoration program has attempted to reduce seagrass degradation and to restore the seagrass beds along the Gulf Coast of the Florida Panhandle. The DEP seagrass restoration program consists of three components: salvage, laboratory tissue culture and aquaculture.
Salt marshes are protected coastal wetlands that function as a transitional zone from the land to salty/brackish water. Salt marshes are commonly referred to as tidal marshes because they naturally occur in the intertidal (littoral) zone.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.