De Soto restorative shoreline project underway in Bradenton

By Angie Angers, Reporter
Last Updated: Saturday, August 12, 2017

From biologists to boy scouts, it was a team effort down by the coast of the De Soto National Memorial in Bradenton on Saturday morning.

  • De Soto project more than a year in the making
  • Biologists say instead of losing shoreline, they'll gain in
  • Interested? Volunteers will be back at 9 a.m. Sunday

The restorative shoreline project has been more than a year in the making. Close to 60 volunteers spent the day planting mangrove trees and lining up hundreds of 40-pound oyster shell bags down by the water to keep the shoreline from eroding.

"It's not only to protect the shorelines of the park, but also to protect the historical sites," said project manager Christian Pilato.

The shells serve as a natural alternative to making a concrete sea wall, and it's a practice that's been successful on the East Coast.

National park archaeologists discovered the eroding shorelines at De Soto National Memorial a couple of months ago, and reached out to an experienced group from the University of Central Florida to help.

"They wanted to see if we could apply our methods that we use on the east coast, to the west coast here," explained Pilato.

Soon, the shell bags will fill with sediment and become a part of the shore, which will help protect the new trees from rising sea levels.

Biologists on site say instead of losing shoreline here, they'll soon be gaining it.

"We're not very far above sea level here, so we need anything and everything we can do, and this is about the simplest way we could go about it," said Dr. Linda Walters with UCF.

The group of volunteers will be back on Sunday at 9 a.m. If you'd like to be a part of it, everyone who is interested is invited to volunteer.