Between 1982 and 2010 a nearly 70% loss of oyster habitat was reported in the Suwannee Sound. In collaboration with National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission the University of Florida coordinated the restoration of the Lone Cabbage Reef complex located in the Suwannee Sound in the Fall of 2018. This project restored nearly three linear miles of oyster reef along the historic Lone Cabbage reef footprint using locally sourced limestone boulders and shell.
Beginning in August 2017, a series of autonomous water quality monitoring stations were established in the Suwannee Sound as a pre-construction monitoring network for the Lone Cabbage Reef restoration project. The water quality monitoring has continued post-construction to assess the effects of the restoration effort. The project currently has 12 water quality stations that measure temperature and conductivity hourly at locations around the Lone Cabbage Reef restoration site. The water quality data is updated bi-weekly and can be viewed through the web application.
Intertidal oyster surveys in the Suwannee Sound have taken place every Winter since the construction of the reef to categorize oyster populations. Oyster surveys are conducted on restored and wild oyster reefs using quadrats and line-transects at multiple locations to assess the recruitment/resilience of oyster populations. In general, data collected during these surveys include size structure, density, and the ratio of live and dead oysters. There has been over 10,000 m of transect work done in the Suwannee sound region since the construction of the Lone Cabbage Reef. The fourth season of post-construction sampling effort is currently ongoing.