By John Morton
Another wave of mini-reef installations on Siesta Key has bolstered the island’s status as setting the standard in the area of water-quality and aquatic-habitat regeneration.
On March 25, another 34 mini-reefs were installed in Grand Canal, the 9-mile waterway in the heart of the north part of the island. Now, a whopping 201 mini-reefs are in Grand Canal and another 42 are in place elsewhere on the Key, according to Jean Cannon, a member of the Siesta Key Association and leader of the project that began in late 2020.
“I hope we can at least get another 60 or more with the help of grant money this year,” Cannon said.
Recent grants awarded the project include $9,000 from Sarasota County’s Neighborhood Improvement Grant Program, earmarked for the building of new real estate and to increase diversification in the island’s waterways, and $1,469 from the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program for dissolved oxygen installation and testing, Cannon reports.
Orders for a late June/early July mini-reef installation can be placed on the project’s web page at siestakeyassociation.com/grand-canal-regeneration.
Another method in helping Siesta Key waterways is the installation of vertical oyster gardens. They can be placed under docks to create a marine-life habitat. To learn about them, visit sarasotabay.org/get-involved/vertical-oyster-gardens/.
You can pick one up, courtesy of Out-of-Door Academy, at the next Siesta Key Association meeting on at 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday, May 5, at St. Boniface Church, 5615 Midnight Pass Rd.