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Log Cabin Quilters HardisonInk.com
Column and Photo
By Myrtice Scabarozi © Aug. 28, 2018 at 2:48 p.m.
The Log Cabin Quilters met Thursday (Sept. 20) at the Levy County Quilt Museum -- 11050 N.W. 10th Ave. (near Levyville, kind of on the way to Judson on Levy County Road 134 from U.S. Alt. 27).


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     Ann and Marie put the new quilt in the frame. Joyce donated the top and we had to wait until we finished another quilt. The new quilt should take some time to finish.
     Johnny and Debra were out Wednesday. Johnny was kept busy cleaning sewing machines. Debra showed us how to do a faux binding when binding small quilts and helped with a circular log cabin quilt top that was brought in. They should be back in February.
     Eleanora and Linda brought out new items for us also brought in new items.
      Next weekend (Oct. 6) the Backyard Pickers (Band) are scheduled to be at the Museum performing, and we’re hoping a few snowbirds will be with us again then. Come join us, whether you're a snowbird, a Florida cracker or fit in any other type of descriptive group. All are welcome at the Log Cabin Quilt Museum.

Now that Fall is officially here, it's time to think about Christmas, isn't it?

The new quilt in the frame.

The circular log cabin top is to be enjoyed and appreciated. Look at the work that went into the top. Thanks for sharing with us.


Chiefland wins hard fought
Dixie County homecoming game

DCHS vs CHS HardisonInk.com
The Dixie County Bear football team bursts through its homecoming banner on Friday evening (Sept. 21).

Story and Photos
By Terry Witt © Sept. 22, 2018 at 3:38 p.m.
Senior Reporter
     CROSS CITY --
Chiefland defeated Dixie County 27-20 at the Bears’ homecoming game Friday night (Sept. 21) in a nail-biter.

DCHS vs CHS HardisonInk.com
Mareena Johnson is crowned 2018 Dixie County Middle High School homecoming queen by Peyton Smith, last year's queen.

DCHS vs CHS HardisonInk.com
The Dixie County homecoming court is shown with Queen Mareena Johnson. From the left are Breanna Berry, Lily Doxtater, Idalis Vasquez, Homecoming Queen Mareena Johnson, Chelsey Lord, Cierra Johnson and Jordan Butler.

DCHS vs CHS HardisonInk.com
Chiefland runner Kirk Williams follows lead blocker Hunter Barrand on the opening play of the game.

Chiefland quarterback Ty Corbin looks downfield for receivers as Dixie's Paras Clines applies pressure.

Dixie quarterback Tyler Back escapes the tackle of diving Chiefland defender Sheppard Dede, but seconds later he was leveled when he fired a pass into the end zone.

DCHS vs CHS HardisonInk.com
Chiefland's Wyatt Hammond pushes to the one-yard line in crowded quarters.

DCHS vs CHS HardisonInk.com
Dixie quarterback Tyler Back waits for runner Carlo Williams to arrive for the sweep.

     The game came down to a game-saving sack by Chiefland’s Sheppard Dede as Dixie quarterback Tyler Back scrambled along the Indian goal line looking for an open receiver with no time left on the clock.
     Back was pulled down from behind as he cocked his arm to throw.
     Game over.
     High school football games don’t get much closer, although the Dixie County Bears had lost the previous week by one point at the last scoring play of that night.
     On Friday night (Sept. 21), two talented teams battered each other for four quarters. It came down to a final play with the clock at double zeroes.
     The Indians came out top.
     “They were who we thought they were, and that’s a really good team and we were who we thought we were, and that’s a really good football team,” Chiefland Head Varsity Football Coach Adam Gore said. “I’m happy for the kids, I’m happy for the community; more than anything, I’m happy for the kids for pouring their heart into the program.”
     The Chiefland Indians are 5-0 for the varsity football season. the Dixie County Bears are 3-2.
     Gore said the game plan was to bottle up the Bears most talented runner, Carlo Williams and force Dixie County to beat Chiefland with the rest of the team.
     “We had to make them get out of what they do and pass it more. It really played into what our defense is made to do, which is to play against great teams and get after the quarterback in the process,” Gore said.
     Gore said Chiefland is accustomed to being invited to the homecoming of opponents. The team thrives on the idea of being a homecoming opponent. They like to prove doubters wrong.
     Chiefland didn’t throw a lot of passes during the game, but they threw enough to keep Dixie County honest.
     When Chiefland mounted its second drive of the night, Indian quarterback Ty Corbin tossed a 50-yard pass to Amonte’ Young. The pass set up a two-yard scamper by Corbin for the first score of the night. The extra point was good with 4:31 left in the first quarter.
     Chiefland expanded its lead with 3:44 left in the first quarter when Corbin accelerated around left end and used his speed to score on an 80 yard touchdown. A miscommunication on the extra point led to a miss. The score was 13-0 going into the half.
     Dixie County set up its first touchdown of the night when Williams took the opening kickoff of the second half 60 yards to the Chiefland 20. He scored soon after on a two-yard run. The extra point was good. The score was 13-7 with 10:33 left in the third quarter.
     Not to be outdone, Chiefland drove from its own 38 on its next offensive series and scored on a short run by Jarrett Jerrels with 4:31 left in the third period. The extra point was good, leaving the score 20-7.
     Dixie County returned fire when Fitzgerald Warren scored from a yard out with 9:54 left in the game. The extra point was good. The score was 20-14.
     The Indians expanded their lead when Corbin scored on a 33-yard touchdown with 1:59 left in the fourth. The Chiefland quarterback zigzagged as he ran across the field ducking tacklers on his way to the end zone. The extra point was good. The score was 27-14.
     Dixie County refused to quit.
     On the opening play after the kickoff, Back heaved a pass from the Dixie 46 to Derrick Charboneau at the Chiefland 9. Three plays later Warren scored from a yard out with 16.6 seconds left on the clock. The extra point failed. The score was 27-20.
     Everyone in the stadium knew an onside kick was coming. Chiefland puts its “hands team” close to the ball. The Dixie County onside kick took one bounce and fell into the hands of the Bears’ Kyler McCaskill.
     Dixie County was back in business.
     Back hit Williams with a pass on the Chiefland three-yard line with 6.5 seconds left, but his second pass was deflected by the Indians in the end zone.
     Back’s third and final passing attempt ended when he was sacked by Dede.

DMC XXVII set for Oct. 6
Story and Photos
Provided By Bob and Dotti Leichner
Published Sept. 12, 2018 at 9:18 p.m.
Updated Sept. 21, 2018 at 6:38 p.m.
     OLD TOWN --
Dixie Music Center has announced the date of their Anniversary Bash to be set for Saturday, Oct. 6, starting at 10 a.m.

Rosewood Creek Band

The Florida Boys

The Ole Skool Band

     This Old Town music products retailer and music school is offering an all-day live music festival commemorating the store's anniversary. This year marks the store's 27th year in operation.
     This event is the 18th consecutive year the business has hosted this free event on the nicely-wooded acreage adjacent to the store at 26626 S.E. U.S. Highway 19 in Old Town. In addition to live music, there will be prize drawings and the store will be holding a giant sale. The event is free, family-friendly, and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to bring portable seating.
     Performers for this year's event include The Florida Boys, a Florida Folk/Americana group fronted by Pat Barmore and Pete Gallagher, from St Petersburg that primarily plays original material. Pat first performed at DMC in 2003.  
     Making their DMC Stage debut will be the Rosewood Creek Band, another group from Pinellas County, led by Marty Fouts and his wife, Bonnie. They, too, perform a lot of original material.
    * Due to a tragic near-fatal auto accident involving bassist Thom Duncan, his group, Little Bit More, will be unable to perform at DMC XXVII.
     The good news is that he is making steady progress on his recovery, but it will take some time. The Kerry Gordon Band has graciously offered to fill their slot for this show.
     Dixie County favorites, The Ole Skool Band, makes a return to the DMC stage this year. This blues-based trio always puts on a great show.
     The Ray Holland Band, another Dixie County trio, will be making their DMC debut this year as well. This band does a lot of great rock songs from the '60s and '70s.
     Another performer, new to the DMC stage this year, is singing-guitarist, Billy Miller from the Town of Suwannee. He will open the show at 10 a.m.
     Closing the show, as usual, will be Dotti South and the Slackers. This group is comprised mainly of Dixie Music Center personnel and perform a lot of Dotti South's original material. Karen Powers will be joining the group for this show as well.
     Ibanez guitars, Peavey electronics, and Armadillo Enterprises (Dean Guitars) have donated instruments, for which there will be drawings. There is no cost to enter, but there are conditions including “must be present to win.”
     For more information, please contact the store at 352-542-3001, or check Dixie Music Center on Facebook. DMC is owned and operated by Bob and Dotti Leichner of Old Town.


CWGA hosts
Gator Golf Tournament

Story and Photos
Provided By Shirley Meggs
Published Sept. 14, 2018 at 7:28 a.m.
The Chiefland Women’s Golf Association hosted the annual Gator Golf Tournament at the Chiefland Golf and Country Club on Wednesday (Sept. 12).
     The nearly 40 ladies enjoyed a wonderful day of golf topped off by a delicious chicken luncheon and homemade desserts. Prize money was awarded to four women in each of the three flights.

CWGA Gator Golf Tournament HardisonInk.com
The Low Gross score in the first flight was Terri Harris.

CWGA Gator Golf Tournament HardisonInk.com
Also in the first flight the Low Net scores (from left) were 1st place Linda Buchanan, 2nd place Cathy Steen, and 3rd place Sherry Dombeck.

CWGA Gator Golf Tournament HardisonInk.com
The Low Gross score in the second flight was Betty Costello.

CWGA Gator Golf Tournament HardisonInk.com
The Low Net scores in the second flight were 1st place Song Kim, 2nd place Yvonne Currie and 3rd place Shirley Meggs.

CWGA Gator Golf Tournament HardisonInk.com
In the third flight, the Low Gross score was B.J. Harland.

CWGA Gator Golf Tournament HardisonInk.com
The Low Net scores were 1st place Adrienne Snyder, 2nd place Terri Biede and 3rd place Deanna Kreuter.

     The ladies attending the annual event came to the golf course near Chiefland from Lake City, Newberry and Gainesville. They will host a Gator Golf Tournament at each of their clubs as well.
     Every year the ladies have an exciting and fun tournament at the beautiful 72-hole Chiefland Golf and Country Club (9650 N.W. 115th St.) on Manatee Spring Road (State Road 320 West).

Appleton posts After Hours
concert series schedule

 Alpine Express gives an outdoor performance for Oktoberfest.

Southern Express Big Band plays the After Hours stage.

Photos and Story Provided
By CF Marketing
Published Sept. 9, 10:28 p.m.
     OCALA —
The Appleton Museum of Art, College of Central Florida, announces its 2018-2019 After Hours concert series schedule.
     After Hours features local and regional musical talent and invites community members of all ages to enjoy lively performances, tasty bites from local restaurants and special displays of artwork from the Ocala Art Group.
     The series kicks off in October with an Oktoberfest band, Alpine Express, who entertains audiences with singing, yodeling, audience-participation and more. The high-energy show consists of traditional Oktoberfest music, along with some unique folk instruments that can include alphorns, cowbells, the Holzanes G'Lächter (member of the xylophone family) and a singing saw.
     In December, Marion Civic Chorale returns to present the sounds of the holidays. A new band is welcomed to the stage in February, New Generation Branches Steel Orchestra, and will give a two-piece performance.
     Last but not least, another favorite is welcomed back — Southern Express Big Band. This 17-piece band from Ocala has been performing for more than 15 years and is comprised of individuals with a variety of professional and musical backgrounds.
2018-2019 Concert Schedule
Thursdays, 5-8 p.m.

     ● Oct. 4 - Alpine Express (Oktoberfest)
     ● Dec. 13 - Marion Civic Chorale
     ● Feb. 7 - New Generation Branches Steel Orchestra
     ● April 4 - Southern Express Big Band

Appleton to open exhibition of
Puerto Rican artists in
La Diaspora:
Keepers of Heritage

Pedro Brull, El pajuil llegó a la sala (The Cashew Made Its Way to the Living Room), 2017, oil on canvas, 36 x 48 in.

Artwork Provided
Published July 27, 2018 at 4:08 p.m.
Updated Sept. 17, 2018 at 11:28 p.m
     OCALA -
The Appleton Museum of Art, College of Central Florida, will open “La Diaspora: Keepers of Heritage,” an exhibition of paintings, prints, sculptures and mixed media by members of the Puerto Rican Arts Diaspora Orlando.

HardisonInk.com Appleton Puerto Rican Art
Carmelo Fontanez, Luz de tarde (Evening Light), 2011, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48 in.

HardisonInk.com Appleton Puerto Rican Artists
Martín García-Rivera, Fuera de alcance (Out of Reach), 2014, burin engraving on paper, 12 x 19 in.

HardisonInk.com Appleton Puerto Rican Artists
Ángel Rivera-Morales, Destierro (Exile), 2017, acrylic and oil on canvas, 48 x 52 in.

Carmen Rojas-Ginés, Stellar Dance (Danza estelar), 2016, steel sculpture, 20 x 28 x 41 in.

     As an artist collective located in Central Florida, P.R.A.D.O. supports artists who represent Puerto Rico through their artwork.
     On view Sept. 15, 2018 through Jan. 20, 2019, “La Diaspora” showcases 12 Puerto Rican artists from different generations who have had diverse diasporic experiences throughout their careers. Their styles embrace influences of cubism, abstract expressionism, constructivism, realism and surrealism.
     These artistic movements reveal themselves through the unique contact with other cultures and the study of art history, and express their educational and creative processes. The exhibition pays homage to master artist Domingo García-Dávila, who was involved in the migration process of Puerto Ricans to the United States in the 1940s.
     “La Diaspora” is a traveling exhibition organized by P.R.A.D.O. and curated by Yasir Nieves. This exhibition is sponsored in part by American Family Medical; Radiology Associates of Ocala, P.A.; Dr. Jose Gaudier Neurology; and Dr. Rafael Rosa, Nutrametrix.

Exhibition Events

First Saturday Family Art Activity (Ages 4+)
Saturday, Oct. 6, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

     Led by Carmen Rojas-Ginés, join us for this family program to make a mobile sculpture. Free for all children and Appleton members; included with museum admission fee for adult nonmembers.

P.R.A.D.O. on the Patio: A Celebration of the Arts
Friday, Nov. 9, 6-9 p.m.

     This ticketed, special event celebrates Puerto Rico and the arts, including food, live music and dance. Ticket includes a traditional Puerto Rican pork and rice plate and a soft drink; cash bar available. $20 for Appleton members; $25 for nonmembers. Details TBA at AppletonMuseum.org.

Visiting Artist Workshops

Figurative Painting Workshop (Ages 14+)
Thursday, Oct. 11, 1-4 p.m.

     Led by artist Pedro Brull, participants will examine how light impacts objects, then create their own depiction using fragments of color while still maintaining the integrity of the object in a surreal-abstract acrylic painting. All materials are included. $50 for Appleton members; $75 for nonmembers.

Mobile Sculpture Workshop (Ages 14+)
Saturday, Jan. 19, 1-3 p.m.

     Led by artist Carmen Rojas-Ginés, this workshop will introduce students to basic model making using tools and malleable material. All materials are included. $40 for Appleton members; $60 for nonmembers.
     To register for a workshop, visit AppletonMuseum.org or contact Hollis Mutch, mutchh@cf.edu, or 352-291-4455, ext. 1613.
     Owned and operated by the College of Central Florida, the Appleton Museum of Art is located at 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala, east of downtown on SR 40 (exit 352 east off I-75 or exit 268 west off I-95). Parking is free. For more information, call 352-291-4455 or visit AppletonMuseum.org.


Vet fest offers fun, food, music,
information and more
to veterans and families at park

Vet Fest In Otter Springs Park HardisonInk.com
This artist's rendering of the main building of Camp Valor was on display at the Vet Fest.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 25, 2018 at 8:48 p.m.
Otter Springs Park and Campground was the site for a lot of fun, food, music and information for veterans and their families during the Vet Fest hosted by ForVets Inc., and Meridian Supportive Services for Veteran Families on Saturday (Aug. 25).
     Robert Wells, a Meridian employee and an active member of the Tri-County Area for civic functions, was among the keynote speakers.
     Wells is among the founders of the Levy County Prevention Coalition. He is active with the Dixie County Anti-Drug Coalition and is among the initiators of the Gilchrist (County) Anti-Drug Coalition. Wells and other speakers told listeners about services available to help veterans and families, and they welcome all veterans to the vent -- thanking all veterans for their service to the United States of America.
     The festival at Otter Springs Park and Campground, 6470 S.W. 80th Ave., near Trenton in Gilchrist County was for veterans and families.

Vet Fest In Otter Springs Park HardisonInk.com
Seen here are (from left) Connie Brosam, Camilla Rolfe and Jacob Brosam. They are the family members from Abundance of Grace Kettle Corn who were serving veterans and families on Saturday at Vet Fest.

     Among the food providers were Kim's Catering of Gainesville and Abundance of Grace Kettle Corn.
     Kim's Catering had hotdogs, hamburgers and much more.
     Abundance of Grace Kettle Corn had kettle corn, other types of popped corn, water and much more.
    Among the fun games were a beanbag toss and another game where children could throw string with weights on either end to catch on thin bars that served as targets.

Vet Fest In Otter Springs Park HardisonInk.com
Dwight Smith (seated) and Don Thomas perform on stage at the event.

     Debbie Destin, owner of Destin's Dance and Fitness Academy of Bell, brought a dance troupe to perform at the event. Dwight Smith and Don Thomas performed on guitar and sang.
     Several organizations sent representatives to share information with interested visitors. There were also free items given away -- like ink pens, pens that had a built-in flashlight, cloth bags, glow-in-the-dark cups and lots of literature.

Vet Fest In Otter Springs Park HardisonInk.com
The bloodmobile from LifeSouth Community Blood Services was available for people to donate blood if they wanted to. LifeSouth provides 100 percent of the blood to hospitals in Williston, Gainesville and other communities.

Vet Fest In Otter Springs Park HardisonInk.com
Among the volunteers in The Friends of ForVets group are (from left) Mary Ann Mulvey, Wendy Motta and Karen Richardson.

     One of the groups at the event was the Friends of ForVets Inc. The ForVets Inc. organization is at the forefront of the Camp Valor project at Otter Springs Park and Campground.
     Camp Valor will be transitional living and learning for severely wounded American veterans returning to civilian life. The four fundamentals at Camp Valor will be Education, Rehabilitation, Enterprise and Recreation.
     The Friends of ForVets are volunteers. They meet the last Monday of each month at 6 p.m. in the Gilchrist County Public Library at Trenton, 120 Academy St. (just off of U.S. Highway 129, a little bit north of Trenton High School).
     Anyone who wants to help is invited to join the group.
     Among the many organizations providing information to visitors were AmVets Post 422 of Fanning Springs; One More Child (the Florida Baptist Children’s Home for orphans); Sheila Smith, financial advisor with Edward Jones of Newberry; Trident University (an online university based in California); Tri-Cunty Nursing Home of Gilchrist County; Gilchrist County AARP Chapter 2133; The Suwannee River Area Health Education Center; The Florida Attorney General’s Seniors vs Crime; and Another Way shelter for abused women and children.
     Every organization was able to provide visitors with as much information as they wanted.
     For instance, the AARP Chapter of Gilchrist County meets the third Tuesday of every month at the ForVets Lodge at Otter Springs Park, with a sign-in at 10 a.m.
     The AARP has a lunch each meeting and people who are 50 or older are invited to join for $10 per year.
     At the meeting on Sept. 18, there is going to be a plethora of information about the nine to 13 amendments that are to be on the ballot on Nov. 6. This is truly going to be a very informational meeting.
     From the Seniors vs Crime organization, it was Kaaren Phelan, the case manager from the Levy County Sheriff’s Office, and Judy Harden, deputy director of Region 4 who provided people with information.
     Region 4 of the Seniors vs Crime includes the counties of Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Columbia, Citrus, Gilchrist, Lake, Levy, Marion, Sumter, Suwannee and Union counties.
     “The Seniors vs. Crime Project is a Florida, non-profit organization that operates as a Special Project of the Florida Attorney General’s Office, the website for the group notes. “In 1989 Attorney General Bob Butterworth was directed by the Florida Legislature to chair the Crimes and the Elderly Task Force.”
     For more information about this resource, please visit http://www.svcregion4.org/whatwedo.
     AmVets Post 88 in Bronson on Saturday (Aug. 25) also conducted a yard sale for that post to donate money to the Camp Valor endeavor.
     As for the 2018 Vet Fest, there were about 200 visitors from start to finish. It was another successful year for the event in the park.


Rebuilding of the
Long Cabbage Oyster Reef starts

Oystermen help HardisonInk.com
More than 60 local oystermen removed live oysters from several of the Lone Cabbage reef elements prior to the beginning of construction.

Story, Graphic and Photos
By Peter Frederick, Bill Pine, Leslie Sturmer
Published Aug. 3, 2018 at 10:08 a.m.
     CEDAR KEY --
If you have been fishing or boating in the Suwannee Sound recently, you may have wondered what all the PVC pipes are marking.


Reef Map HardisonInk.com

Reef building HardisonInk.com
Here, a barge places limerock boulders using a long boom arm in 30-foot wide swaths on one of the reef elements.

     These PVC pipes indicate where construction is taking place to rebuild the historic Lone Cabbage oyster reef complex. The newly-funded project was at least 10 years in the making - starting with local community observations and concerns about disappearing oyster reefs in the Big Bend, progressing through research documenting the problem, a three-year pilot construction project, and finally securing funding for a full-scale reef restoration project.
     All along the way, local oystermen, the shellfish culture industry, state and federal partners, conservation organizations, and community residents were all key to the success of each phase. The goal is to restore the entire reef chain with the expected benefit of buffering the nearby coastal habitats from salinity fluctuations and erosion.

Can this reef be restored?
     This reef has lost over 88 percent of its oysters during the past 30 years and is rapidly losing elevation as the sediments are exposed to currents and waves. Oysters have died off because of increasing high salinities, caused by lower freshwater discharge from the Suwannee River. There seems no obvious way that the reef will recover on its own. Once the oyster shell is gone, oysters cannot re-colonize the remaining sand bars. But this can be changed with the addition of durable substrate.
     During 2011-13, a series of experimental reefs were constructed on Lone Cabbage to test approaches and materials for restoration. That study illustrated that by adding limerock boulders and shell material to the reef: 1) suitable surface for oysters to recruit to the reef was provided, 2) elevations on the reef were increased, 3) inshore salinities were decreased by retaining fresh water that would otherwise be lost to the Gulf of Mexico, and 4) recovery time of oyster reefs following mortality events may be reduced by providing a stable surface that does not wash away.
     In addition, there was strong evidence that habitat for juvenile blue crabs and other oyster reef-dependent animals was created. These oyster mini-reefs were also robust to storm and wave action, as they did not move or degrade during Hurricane Hermine in 2016.

What will be done to restore the reef?
     This new project will restore about 8 acres, or nearly three linear miles, of the Lone Cabbage reef. Using knowledge gained from the pilot study, the plan is to build the reef back to its historic footprint and elevation using limerock boulders as the base, and shell as the top-dressing.
     After construction, the reef will be approximately 1- to 2-feet higher than its current elevation, and the inlets between reefs will be reduced from the current 200- to 400-foot gaps to 50- to 100-foot gaps. Collectively, these changes should make for both a restored reef, but also one that is more resilient to fluctuations in freshwater discharge and sea level rise.
     A team of University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences scientists is coordinating all work for the project. The project is funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation using the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, one of the portions of money that comes from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill settlement.
     No tax dollars are used in this project. The GEBF fund is separate from funding that comes directly to coastal counties from the Restore Act. Following a search under the university’s contracting guidelines, The Brentwood Co. in Newberry was hired as the onsite construction manager for the project. All of the work being done on the reef will be performed by local subcontractors who will place the rock and cover the reefs with shell material.

How is the work being done?
     In the first step, live oysters in the construction footprint were temporarily moved to a safe location nearby. During June, over 60 local oystermen, under the supervision of Griffin Construction, were employed to relocate 3,150 bushels of oysters. They will be returned to their original position after construction is complete.
     Next, limerock boulders used in the construction of the reef are being obtained from a quarry near Bronson and match the same type of limestone found naturally along the coast. Rock sizes will typically be about 18- to 24-inches, with some larger rocks used on the edges near the gaps to reduce the risk of erosion. The reef will not be a continuous "wall" of rock, but instead the reef will mimic a natural oyster bar made up of 22 smaller reefs of various sizes based on the footprint of the reef first surveyed in the 1800s.
     Using heavy equipment with a long boom arm based on a barge, the rocks will be placed on each reef in a 30-foot wide swath, building the reef up to its original grade, and re-forming the inlets to their historic width. This component of the work is being completed by Boone Construction, with staging of the rock and barges occurring out of the town of Suwannee. After each small reef is built, the barge will move to the next and continue until the entire reef chain is built. It is anticipated this will be completed by November.
     Oyster reefs are refuges for small fish, shellfish, and naturally occurring oyster spat in part because they have the small spaces that keep predators out. Large rocks are necessary to make sure the reef materials stay in place during storms, but large rocks mean large holes that predators can enter and consume young oysters and other organisms.
     To create the smaller spaces, the holes between rocks will be filled with oyster shell. This will be a thin scattering of shell, barely an inch deep on average, but enough to create the refuges that young oysters and other organisms need. Clamtastic Seafood of Cedar Key will complete this component of the project by spreading about 1,000 cubic-yards of shell over the limerock reef elements.
     Gaps between each reef of various widths will create complex currents and habitats for oysters and oyster reef associated fish and invertebrates. The widest and deepest of these gaps will be marked with U.S. Coast Guard approved navigation signs. These will be in locations that have also been historically the most used by boaters. Oyster relocation back to the reef will occur as the 22 reef elements are completed in a north to south progression.
     Dr. Peter Frederick, the lead UF investigator, summarizes the environmental benefits of this construction project.
     “The Lone Cabbage reef chain is known to serve as a leaky dam, creating a mixture of fresh water from the Suwannee and Gulf waters,” Dr. Frederick said. “The resulting estuary is at least seven times larger than the reef itself, and by restoring the reef, waters are expected to be less saline, creating conditions necessary for a range of sport and commercial fish and shellfish production.
     "In addition," Frederick continued, the reef itself will serve as a physical barrier to waves and storm surge that can erode the coast, filter large volumes of water, and provide increased fish and wildlife habitat.”
     To learn more about this project and for additional updates, visit the web page, www.wec.ufl.edu/oysterproject/, or send an email to the project team at oysterproject@ifas.ufl.edu.

MONDAY  SEPT. 24  9:18 p.m.
Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties

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