Monday, April 12, 2010

Heather Reed on Deadman's Island Restoration Project

Heather Reed, owner of Ecological Consulting Services Inc., gave a briefing about the Deadman’s Island Restoration Project in Gulf Breeze on April 7.

As project manager of the restoration project, Reed stressed the importance of restoring the area, due to its historic sources and natural surroundings.

“You can go there and just touch history,” Reed said. “You never know what’s going to pop up.”

Deadman’s Island has a vast history, a place once used by the Spanish and British in the 18th Century. The old peninsulas later became a quarantine station for ships in 1891.

Because of the constant use of Deadman’s Island in the past, evidence of erosion can be seen.

“The Shoreline has eroded significantly, almost two football field lengths,” Reed said. “There is almost 20 ft. of erosion in one year.”

Reed’s resolution to this rapid erosion is a five phase project meant to stop erosion and expand the shoreline. Phase one consists of an oyster breakwater system that will create a reef.

Reed said that 155 breakwater systems were created. She also said that this type of breakwater system is the first to be used in Florida.

While the breakwater systems are proving to be effective, Reed said she was wary of storm surges moving the systems.

“It’s not the hurricanes we have to worry about, it’s the storm surges,” she said.

While the restoration project was in effect during Hurricane Dennis, coffins from the 1800s were unearthed at Deadman’s Island.

Phase two of the restoration project consists of ecodiscs, which demonstrate rapid oyster growth and are not affected by tides.

Permitting for the restoration project was allowed due to extreme public interest. Forty-two letters of support were written and a petition with approximately 200 signatures.

“Community involvement has been amazing in this project,” Reed said. “Everybody wants to save Deadman’s Island.”

The general public is invited to help build coir logs and commence planting at Deadman’s Island on April 17. For more information on the Deadman’s Island Restoration Project, visit the Web site at


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