MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.,--Members of MacDill and the local community help build the shoreline of MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, March 30, 2018.
This build is part of the ongoing Oyster Reef Shoreline Stabilization project, which started in 2004.
“MacDill’s eastern shoreline is prone to erosion and a majority of this area has been hardened with limestone rip-rap, or stones used ot make an erosion-resistant shoreline.” Said Eric Vichich, natural resources manages with the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron. “The oyster bars are used to stabilize the shoreline and prevent erosion, but oysters also clean the water, provide habitat, and are a food source for various species of fish and wildlife.”
Over the years, 1,600 volunteers have placed 9,000 oyster domes and 20,000 shell bags to protect over 5,000 feet of shoreline and donated almost 5,000 volunteer hours.
For this phase of the build, MacDill partnered with Nate Ripkey, a local Boy Scout, working towards his Eagle Scout badge.
“I decided to center my eagle project on an environmentally conscious solution that also benefits the community,” said Ripkey. “This is a great example of youth involvement in the conservation of the environment; I'm glad everything came together and I've had the opportunity to lead such a driven group.”
MacDill’s environmental flight coordinates several projects on base to restore or improve natural habitats found in the area. The annual Great American Cleanup is scheduled April 27, 2018 to remove debris from the base shoreline.