Tampa Bay Guardian

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Click here to volunteer with our CORE program.

Oysters are a food source for birds and fish. Many small fish, crabs, shrimp and other critters live among the oysters and provide food for larger fish and wildlife!

Our partners at North Carolina Coastal Federation are focused on providing waterfront property owners with environmentally beneficial alternatives for dealing with estuarine shoreline erosion. Click here to check out their site.

Contact Serra Herndon with questions about the CORE program.


Community Oyster Reef Enhancement (CORE)

Tampa Bay Watch constructs two types of oyster communities in Tampa Bay under the Community Oyster Reef Enhancement (CORE) Program. The first type of oyster habitat restoration involves the installation of marine-friendly concrete oyster domes to promote oyster growth along man-made and altered shorelines of Tampa Bay. The oyster domes attract oyster larvae, and eventually become covered with mature oysters. These oysters provide water quality benefits through natural water filtration and the domes provide habitat for fish and wildlife resources.


The second type of oyster habitat under the CORE program is the construction of oyster shell bars. This type of artificial reef is similar in structure to natural oyster communities found along shorelines throughout Tampa Bay. These oyster bars provide a hard surface for oyster larvae to settle upon and grow, eventually forming a natural reef.


There are two primary goals of the Community Oyster Reef Enhancement Program. The priority goal of the program is to provide and enhance marine habitat. Both the oyster domes and oyster shell bars are designed to promote the growth of oysters along human- created or altered shorelines of Tampa Bay. Once established, the oyster-covered domes and reefs provide water quality benefits, food for foraging birds and wildlife, and are an effective means of wave attenuation. In addition, the hollow domes become a refuge for crabs, juvenile fish and other marine life.


The second goal is to provide environmental education and stewardship within the Tampa Bay community through hands-on community restoration. Tampa Bay Watch enlists the assistance of local middle and high school students and community volunteers who learn and participate in restoration efforts in their community.


Our two CORE programs include:

Oyster Shell Bars

This method of habitat restoration is used primarily along natural shorelines to mimic a natural oyster bar.


Read more.



Oyster Domes

This is an urban method of oyster restoration that is used primarily in areas like dredged canals and seawalls.


Read more.


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