NewsProtecting Paradise


1,000 Mini Reef Challenge aims to protect marine life and improve water quality in Bocilla Islands

Mini Reef Challenge
Posted at 11:55 AM, May 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-11 13:55:56-04

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla — Ocean Habitats is working to install 1,000 mini reefs in Charlotte County.

The reefs filter water from channels and lakes threatened by pollution and over-development.

The mini reefs are installed under a dock and after 6 months, a single mini reef will filter 30,000 gallons of water a day.

Ocean Habitats teamed up with the Eco Preservation Project along with the Bocilla Island Conservancy.

President, David Wolfe said the mini reefs create an environment for filter feeders such as oysters to thrive.

This allows things like pollution to be filtered out, but they may also be the key to removing harmful algae.

“There is some science showing that certain filters do feed on red tide organisms. However, that is something that is being studied in marine laboratories currently. They actually use mini reefs in Boca Grande for a study they are doing on that... to actually see how much work do they do with red tide," said Wolfe.

Meeting their challenge doesn't come easy or alone.

The Bocilla Island Conservancy is the one responsible for purchasing the mini reefs and finding homeowners who are cool with having the units installed under their dock.

Lisa Haney, the Events Coordinator for Bocilla Island Conservancy tells Fox 4, it wasn't a tough task convincing homeowners.

“The first thing we want to do is engage the residents and let them know the benefits that the conservancy can bring to their current home and the habitats around their home that support the wildlife that they are here for...the reason they love the island,” said Haney.

She says the Community Foundation of Sarasota County made this all possible by awarding them a grant to help fund the challenge.

Ocean Habitats say once the challenge is complete, the mini reefs will filter nearly 11 billion gallons of water per year while growing more than 500,000 fish, shrimp, and crabs.