Artificial Oyster Reefs – Benefits to Southwest Florida
American writer, Willa Cather, once said; “Either a building is part of a place or it is not. Once that kinship is there, time will only make it stronger.” As urban planners, landscape architects and engineer’s we try and look at projects as holistically as possible. For us this often means reviewing the economic impact of our projects or evaluating the societal needs for the services provided at a potential location. But, it also means evaluating the land itself and working to integrate our projects with the natural surroundings. This means looking for more natural solutions to solving problems. We find these natural approaches often provide the best long-term result.
But what does the idea of natural design look like in real life? Designs range in scope and scale, from natural drainage solutions like the rain gardens we have used on various projects to more futuristic renditions such as the ones found in this Curbed article.
When evaluating other local efforts in natural design we can’t help but think about the oyster bed rebuilding efforts. FGCU and other local organizations are spearheading an effort to rebuild the oyster beds throughout Southwest Florida. Through organic and artificial design, these organizations are looking to reverse the effects of years of marine and coastline construction. These oyster beds provide a multitude of benefits for our community, including both environmental and economic. Oyster beds have been found to provide a phenomenal natural barrier to storm surge and shoreline erosion. In addition, a NOAA study estimated that an acre of oyster reef sanctuary would result in $40,000 in additional value of commercial finfish and crustacean fisheries.
We hope others are inspired to work with nature rather than against it. It is these types of projects that will make a lasting impact in our community and beyond. To learn more about how we can help integrate natural design into your next project.