Lemon Baywatch Vertical Oyster Gardening Program
Sue Wills attended the first Vertical Oyster Garden Alliance meeting on July 21,2023. This new Alliance organized by Megan Barry, Public Outreach Manager of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, was formed for the purpose of sharing information among the many volunteer groups that are working or plan to be working with vertical oyster gardens. Jane Collingwood and Hilary Dahms attended remotely. The kickoff meeting drew over 20 attendees from 12 separate organizations including Tampa Bay Estuary Program, Gulf Shellfish Institute, START, Sarasota Bay Watch, Siesta Key Association, Oyster River Ecology and Oyster Boys Conservation.
Known as VOGs, vertical oyster gardens have had significant success throughout SW Florida in improving water quality through natural filtration. The Vertical Oyster Garden Alliance aims to provide a forum to support and supplement the efforts of individual groups. Among topics discussed were sources of shells, materials used, installation techniques, data collection, funding opportunities, community outreach, citizen scientists and workshops. Our Lemon BayWatch representatives emerged from the meeting energized and ready to implement new ideas for our own program. Anyone interested in joining our LBC oyster garden program should call 941-830-8922 or email email@example.com to sign up.