In 2011, Audubon facilitated the installation of a 425 foot man-made reef system to protect Bird Island, one of the islands that make up Audubon’s Florida Coastal Islands Sanctuary in Hillsborough Bay. The reef will help guard against erosion as well as providing a habitat for planktonic oysters.
Last month, Florida Department of Environmental Protection compliance staff Brittany Banko, Lindsay Huntermark, and Rebecca Nicker inspected the oysterbar reef breakwater installed on Bird Island at the Alafia Bank Bird Sanctuary.
The oysterbar extends 425 feet and intercepts waves, calming water energy impacting the Bird Island south shore, protecting the south cove arm from erosion, creating oyster and fish habitat, and providing foraging and roosting sites for American Oystercatchers, sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstones, and even diamondback terrapins.
The islands that make up the Alafia Bank Bird Sanctuary are home to over 10,000 pairs of nesting birds and is one of the most diverse in the United States. Although, the sanctuary’s most abundant bird is the White Ibis.