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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 (T-44 Monitoring and Marine Projects Grant Cycle 2015 F16AF00528 & T-52 Monitoring and Aquatic Restoration Projects Grant Cycle 2018 F19AF00401). This funding aims to support the study of high-priority coastal habitats and meet the requirements of the State Wildlife Action Plan. 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. Three OIMMP workshops were held in February 2017, May 2018, and October 2019 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

Workshop participants and OIMMP partners collaborated to write a statewide technical report that was published in 2019. 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. 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

Chapter 3: Apalachicola Bay

Chapter 4: Big Bend and Springs Coast

Chapter 5: Tampa and Sarasota Bays

Chapter 6: Southwest Florida

Chapter 7: Southeast Florida

Chapter 8: Central Eastern Florida

Chapter 9: Northeast Florida

Chapter 10: Conclusions and Recommendations

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