Apalachicola oysterman Kendall Shoelles tongs for oysters in St Vincent Sound, an extension of Apalachicola Bay, where their family has owned a lease for three generations. The Apalachicola estuary, which produces 90 percent of the oysters for Florida and 13 percent for the US, is suffering major declines in recent years. (Photo by Carlton Ward Jr.) Photo by Carlton Ward Jr./ Carlton Ward Photography
Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition Explores Apalachicola Oysterbeds

The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition spent time in the oysterbeds in Florida over the past week with Apalachicola Riverkeeper. 

In Florida, oysters are important part of our ecosystem and our economy. According to the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, oysters generate more than $20 million in annual revenue and employ 2,500 people who harvest, process and distribute shellfish.

Unfortunately, there are fundamental threats to the survival of oysters and their environment. Those fundamental threats include loss of life-sustaining fresh water, loss of floodplain and wetland habitat, pollution and unrestrained human growth and development.

The river and its state are not solely derived from the surrounding area. The freshwater flow of the Apalachicola River begins many miles away in the Appalachian Mountains. The development of areas upstream, like Atlanta and beyond, leads to increases in point-source pollution (from industries and wastewater treatment plants) and non point-source pollution (from urban development. Also, reservoirs established upstream of the Apalachicola River to meet the needs of growing communities causes severe limitations on freshwater flows coming into the river. Luckily, the Apalachicola River Blueway was designated as a State Paddling Trail by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection allowing for people to visit and paddle the magnificent scenery of one of Florida's wildest rivers. 


To read more about the Apalachicola River and the Apalachicola Riverkeepers, please visit their website at apalachicolariverkeeper.org. 
 
UPCOMING EVENTS
"Black Bear Affair" at E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center

E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center

March 7, 2015

10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Please note the center charges a general admission entrance fee.
Blackwater River Paddle

Blackwater River State Park

March 14, 2015

9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Space is limited to 50 guests, but 150 guests can attend reception.

Click here to RSVP. 
How to Follow the Expedition!
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