Apalachicola Bay System Initiative - The Proposal
To read the full body of work proposed by Florida State University, please go to this website.
The ultimate outcome of the science proposed here will be a treatment plan of action for recovery of the oyster reefs and the health of the Bay. It will be developed in concert with the agencies responsible for the management and conservation of the region, the stakeholders whose lives are tied inextricably to these waters, and the natural and social scientists whose research will help inform the resulting policy decisions.
Long-term sustainability & ecosystem resilience
Ecosystem recovery is limited by nature’s ability to rebuild. Depending on the system, it may take decades. While oysters grow quickly, the massive reefs that they form that support lucrative fisheries & protect our shorelines develop slowly.
Oyster reef ecosystems provide valuable ecological and economic services. If we protect and care for them, they will continue to provide these services far into the future. If we do not, we risk losing them forever.
Understanding decline in oyster reef systems
Collapse of oyster reef systems is a global phenomenon, with less than 20% of the world’s reefs remaining. The causes are complex, and include the interactions of poor coastal management, over-harvesting, habitat destruction, and poor water quality.
Before we can generate effective restoration and management plans, we have to understand what went wrong, and try to address the underlying problem.
This is the focus of the ABSI endeavor.
The path to recovery
Successful ecosystem recovery requires a deep understanding of the causes of ecosystem collapse. This is accomplished with extensive research and monitoring, and a long term plan that includes adaptive management and habitat restoration.
ABSI's small scale hatchery will be used to produce spat to ‘seed’ experiments using traditional and novel approaches to identify optimal restoration strategies. ABSI data will be made available to the public, and through a collaborative process, an oyster management and ecosystem recovery plan will be developed.