Project Page

Gomez Key Oyster Reef Expansion and Breakwaters for American Oystercatchers

Implementing Organization

State of Florida


DWH Project Funding


Known Leveraged Funding


Funding Organization

Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees (NRDA)

Funding Program

Natural Resource Damage Assessment NRDA


Project Category


Project Actions

Species Restoration

Targeted Resources

Birds/Bird Habitat

Project Description

The project will restore and enhance critical nesting and foraging habitat for American oystercatchers on a small island, Gomez Key, by integrating a combination of habitat restoration strategies to prevent erosion, increase sedimentation, promote oyster recolonization, and expand and elevate potential American oystercatcher nesting habitat. Specifically, the project will: • Provide durable structure and surface area through cultch placement (approximately 2-5 acres, including breakwaters) for oyster reef expansion and recolonization in the intertidal zone; and expand potential American oystercatcher nesting habitat above the mean-high-water line; • Install native rock (e.g., limestone, shell) breakwaters along the wave-ward side of the island to dissipate wave energy and increase sediment deposition on the island. The goal of the project is to restore and enhance American oystercatcher nesting and foraging locations on Gomez Key to prevent further erosion and loss of this critical habitat and to increase reproductive success in the area. Habitat loss in the intertidal waters around Cedar Key is the primary threat facing the breeding population of American oystercatchers in the southern half of the Big Bend region of Florida’s Gulf Coast (from the Apalachicola River to just north of Tampa Bay, including Gomez Key). Many small, but critically important, nesting sites are already threatened by overwash and erosion during the normal tidal cycle. Extensive work on oysters in the area indicates that oyster larvae are present in the system and the limiting factor for oyster resettlement is the presence of hard substrate. Past projects on "More Info" link below


Gareth Leonard
(850) 617-9452
Project Website
Project Partners


Affiliated Institutions

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