ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- Oysters aren't just good for dinner, they're now being used to stop erosion on the first coast.
The Tolomato River in St. Augustine and St. Johns County has seen erosion due to increased boat traffic, wind driven waves, and die off of the marsh.
But leave it to a little oyster shell to help save the day.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the GTM Research Reserve in St. Johns County started a pilot project a couple years ago, collecting used oyster shells and recycling them. The shells are used to create reefs along the river bank to stop the erosion.
Restaurants and people in the community donate the shells.
The idea is that oyster shells -- when laid along the river bank -- become a foundation for living oysters and other creatures and plants. It basically re-establishes the bank and keeps it from eroding.
Since 2012, 31 reefs have been created that are each about 20 feet long, according to the GTM Research Reserve. More than 152,000 pounds of oyster shells have been collected and re-used.
That's 152,000 pounds of trash that is not going into the landfill..
Restaurants seem to like the project, because it keeps them from having to pay to dump that extra weight.
For more information about how you can donate oyster shells, contact the GTM Research Reserve at 904-823-4500.