The Timucuan Parks Foundation Trail Team volunteers recently took part in a project at Kingsley Plantation to help stabilize the shoreline and restore habitat by building and repairing reef molds made from recycled oyster shells. Together with students from the University of North Florida and the National Park Service’s Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve rangers, the volunteers spent the morning sorting oyster shells, disassembling and fixing older mold structures, and repouring the reef molds.
The reef molds, known as pervious oyster shell habitat modules, or POSH modules, were originally created by a team at the University of North Florida and positioned along the shoreline at Kingsley Plantation last year. The POSH modules were designed to give oysters a place to attach and thus work to restore the habitats along the shoreline that have seen increased deterioration due to boat traffic and severe storms. UNF’s unique design uses recycled oysters and minimal cement content to minimize their carbon footprint.
The oysters, a critical component of the area’s ecosystem, work as a water filtration system and help improve water quality. The reefs help protect fish and also provide food for native wildlife. This shoreline restoration project not only protects wildlife and plants, but it also ensures the shoreline is resilient to dangers of rising sea levels and climate change.
“Projects and partnerships, like this, are critical to maintaining and protecting the natural environments in our wilderness parks and preserves,” said Felicia Boyd, TPF program and outreach director. “We would like to thank our TPF Trail Team, in particular, who work tirelessly to help us maintain our parks and trail systems. We couldn’t do what we do without this amazing group of volunteers.”
Timucuan Park Foundation’s Trail Team is made up of a core group of volunteers who work each week on maintenance, restoration, and cleanup projects throughout the more than 25 wilderness parks and preserves in Jacksonville that TPF supports. Those interested in joining the Trail Team, either weekly or occasionally, can visit timucuanparks.org/volunteer or contact Felicia Boyd at [email protected].