Pathway to Recovery
The Apalachicola Bay System Initiative
Newsletter - March 2021
The ABSI mission: to gain insight into the root causes of decline of the Apalachicola Bay ecosystem with a focus on oyster reefs, and ultimately, with guidance from the Community Advisory Board and input from stakeholders and the public, to develop science-informed restoration and ecosystem-based management plans focused on the recovery of oyster reefs and the health of Apalachicola Bay.
News from the Community Advisory Board
The CAB met on February 24th and received briefings from Dr. Sandra Brooke (FSU) who gave an ABSI research and data collection update (see Science Update below), and Matt Davis (FWC) on FWC's Oyster Monitoring Program. Also, Matt Posner and Donald Killorn (Pensacola and Perdido Bays Estuary Program) provided an overview of their estuary program. Copies of the presentations can be found here.

The Strategies Worksheet reviewed by the CAB, a primary focus for each meeting, is in its final stages. This worksheet lays out strategy recommendations across a suite of goals and objectives, including ecological and socio-economic. At the April meeting, the CAB will begin prioritizing the strategies. The public will be asked for feedback on these strategies that will be incorporated where appropriate before the CAB finalizes its recommendations.

Community Advisory Board members spent a large portion of the meeting discussing the pros and cons of specific management alternatives. Alternatives discussed included summer fishery closures, rotational closures, daily harvest limits, limited entry, and sanctuary reefs. Due to time constraints, not all potential strategies were reviewed, but the discussion will continue at the April meeting. A full list of these strategies can be found on page 3 of the Strategies Worksheet.

The ABSI will be hosting another Oystermen's Workshop on Monday, March 29th at the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve. Due to COVID safety guidelines, this meeting will not be open to the public, but will be available for viewing via Zoom. Details on how to virtually watch and listen in are on the website.

To ensure complete transparency, ABSI presents on the Community Advisory Board's website the entire history of the deliberations following from each meeting, copies of all presentations, and a recording of each meeting since March 2020.

Note: Due to COVID-19, meetings of the CAB have taken place virtually using ZOOM since the May 2020 meeting and will continue to be virtual until further notice. Members of the public are welcome to call in during meetings. Directions for doing so are on the website.

Next meeting of the ABSI CAB: April 21, 2021 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM

ABSI Science Update
Construction has begun on our permanent hatchery which will allow the team to produce larger quantities of larvae and spat for research and restoration. The ABSI team has also collected broodstock from Apalachicola Bay (under permitted work by FWC), completed exploratory subtidal oyster sampling, and has partnered with local oystermen in hopes of identifying the most successful substrate material for oyster reef restoration. Click here for more details.
Meet the newest member of ABSI:
Dr. Andrew Shantz
As a community ecologist, his research asks a lot of questions about how ecosystems are structured and maintained. The effort to restore Apalachicola Bay is really the ultimate test for those types of studies: can we correctly identify the drivers of decline and pull the right ecological levers to stop the decline and steer the system back in the direction we want? He is optimistic and excited to join the ABSI team and work with local stakeholders.
ABSI Virtual Events
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We are always interested in hearing from you so if you have questions or comments, please send them to our email address,