Tavares – Lake County and the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) met this week at the Lake County Landfill to support the partnership of the oyster shell recycling program. The County supports the program by providing space at the landfill to dry the shells before being recycled.
“Lake County is the only inland county in Florida participating in the program, and our central location plays an important role,” said County Commissioner Sean Parks.
The goal of the program is to restore Florida’s coastal estuaries. The CCA collects the dried oyster shells and returns them to Florida’s water systems, creating natural reefs when oyster larvae settle onto existing shells and continue to grow. The new reefs stabilize shorelines and create a habitat for fish. The new oysters also support natural water filtration as a single oyster can filter 30 to 40 gallons of water per day.
In Lake County, the Clermont Chapter of the CCA collects two tons of oyster shells every few weeks from the Clermont Oyster Bar. From there, the shells are taken to the Landfill where they dry out for six months. Once the drying process is complete, the oyster shells are deployed for recycling on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
The CCA recently received additional funding to expand the program, which includes adding oyster shell collections from additional restaurants in Lake County. “There is currently a huge shortage of oysters for restoration in our coastal counties, and we plan on increasing the number of oysters we donate in the next few years,” said Frank J. Gidus, II, Director of Habitat and Environmental Restoration at CCA.
For more information on the CCA, visit https://ccaflorida.org/. For more information on Lake County solid waste and recycling, visit https://lakecountyfl.gov/departments/public_works/solid_waste/index.aspx.