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Oyster Integrated Mapping and Monitoring Program (OIMMP)

oyster beds

Oysters provide a variety of critical ecosystem services to coastal communities in Florida. They improve wa­ter quality and clarity as they filter feed, lessen shoreline erosion, and provide a habitat or food source for a wide variety of birds, fish, and invertebrates. The eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) is the only reef-building oyster in Florida and forms both subtidal and intertidal reefs. The eastern oyster is the most abundant oyster in the state and is important as both a keystone species and an ecosystem engineer.

Despite their ecological importance, many Florida estuaries have lost 80–90% of the oyster reefs that were present before human development. Determination of current condition and extent of oyster habitat in Florida is an essential step to developing statewide management and restoration goals for this habitat. The Oyster Integrated Mapping and Monitoring Program (OIMMP) began in 2016 with support provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s funding support of Florida’s State Wildlife Grants Program. This funding aims to support the study of high-priority coastal habitats and meet the requirements of the State Wildlife Action Plan. Additional funding was provided through grant agreements from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Coastal Management Program, by grants provided by the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management under the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awards.

The main objective of OIMMP was to build and maintain a collaborative network of stakeholders with interest in mapping and monitoring Florida’s oyster habitats in order to identify the status of and management priorities for oysters and their habitats. Multiple workshops have been held to bring together oyster scientists and managers from across Florida. During these workshops, attendees gave presentations on regional oyster mapping and monitoring activities and made recommendations for future mapping, monitoring, and management of oyster resources.

Learn more about the OIMMP workshops, oyster mapping, monitoring, and partner publications

Workshop participants and OIMMP partners collaborated to write a statewide technical report that was published in 2019; the complete report is available below. This report provides summaries of the status of oyster habitat in each region of Florida, mapping and monitoring programs, location-specific threats, and recommendations for oyster management, mapping, and monitoring. Selected chapters from this report have been updated since that time. These updates are web-published below; once all chapters are updated, a second version of the technical report will be compiled and published.

OIMMP also compiled oyster data from a variety of local mapping programs to create a statewide map of oyster habitat.

Learn more about the statewide oyster map for Florida


Oyster Integrated Mapping and Monitoring Program Report

View complete report

View Individual Chapters

Title page, acknowledgements, contributors, and executive summary

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Northwest Florida (version 2.0, added 3/2022)

Chapter 3: Apalachicola Bay  (version 2.0, added 6/2021)

Chapter 4: Big Bend and Springs Coast  (version 2.0, added 6/2021)

Chapter 5: Tampa and Sarasota Bays

Chapter 6: Southwest Florida  (version 2.0, added 2/2022)

Chapter 7: Southeast Florida  (version 2.0, added 12/2023)

Chapter 8: Central Eastern Florida

Chapter 9: Northeast Florida

Chapter 10: Conclusions and Recommendations

Chapter 11: Fish and Wildlife Research Institute Oyster Monitoring Procedures (version 2.0, added 10/2021)

Appendices: Historical yields of the Florida oyster fishery, abbreviations, and species list