September 14th - 21st marks the 31st National Estuaries Week highlighting the importance of estuaries and bays around the country. Estuaries are vibrant nurseries that provide food and shelter for small fish and other marine creatures. These unique ecosystems clean our air and water, protect us from storms, support our favorite recreational pastimes, and drive our tourism economy, providing a growing number of jobs. According to research, 22 of the 32 largest cities in the world are located on estuaries (Ross, 1995).

Join SBEP, Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department, and the Tampa Bay Estuary Program in celebrating our local estuaries by building an oyster reef in Perico Bayou on Saturday, September 21. This work will be tough, but very rewarding. Volunteers will form a bucket brigade to deliver bagged oyster shell from shore to place on the reef. Each bag of shell weighs about 30 pounds. All volunteers should be prepared to wade and stand in water up to 2-3 feet deep in Perico Bayou for several hours. We'll begin working at 8:00am sharp, so please arrive by 7:45am to allow time for walking from the parking area and completing waivers.

Registration is required for all volunteers! Click the button below to sign up. We welcome volunteers ages 10 and up; students can earn community service hours.

  • Date: Saturday, September 21st
  • Time: 8:00 AM - 11:00 AM
  • Location: 10600 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton. We will access Perico Bayou beneath the Manatee Avenue bridge over the bayou. This event is NOT at Perico Preserve.
Dumping oyster shells onto the reef
Group photo on the boardwalk
Volunteers in water building the reef at Perico Preserve

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Ross, D.A. 1995. Introduction to Oceanography. New York: Harper Collins College Publishers. ISBN 978-0673469380.