Vertical Oyster Gardens

VOG pictureDo you want to help Save Our Bay? In a recent water quality report on Old Tampa Bay, which lines the Oldsmar and Safety Harbor coasts, water was found to be the least healthy in the entire bay. There are many ways to help clean our waters. Our first project to tackle this important issue, Vertical Oyster Gardens or VOGS, launched on December 11, 2021. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

While oysters are good to eat, one oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day. Imagine the filtering power of hundreds or thousands of oysters!

Former Oldsmar Mayor Eric Seidel partnered with Safety Harbor Mayor Joe Ayoub to encourage residents to hang VOGs on their docks. These VOGs will help recruit oysters to our bay and get us one step closer to cleaner, healthier waters. Even if you do not have a dock, you can still volunteer to help make and monitor the gardens.

This will be an ongoing project, so keep an eye out for future events! If you want more information or to install VOGs on your dock, email the Sustainability Coordinator.

Have you already installed VOGS on your dock?

Please fill out a quick questionnaire Here

Special Thank You to our partners

Safety Harbor CitySealTampa Bay Watch LogoSalt Rock Tavern Logo

  1. Ashlee Painter

    Environmental Management Supervisor

Steps to hang VOGs

  1. Choose a place for VOG. Choose a spot with the most water flow and is deep enough to cover VOG at high tide.
  2. Using a length of rope hang VOG from dock. Try to match the height/depth of the best oyster/barnacle growth on your pilings or seawall. This is the optimal zone for your area.
  3. Be patient. It may take several months for oysters to colonize your VOG. Try moving VOG higher or lower in the water column if you think they are hanging at the wrong depth. Always try to match the growth on adjacent areas.
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We have oysters!

BarnacleOyster SpatWe hosted our first VOG monitoring event on August 6, 2022. While VOGs were mostly covered with barnacles, we did find oyster spat (aka baby oysters) on about half of them. This was expected, as barnacles recruit earlier in the year than oysters. Oysters spawn in the summer months, so we were seeing the first spawn of the season.

When oysters are this size, they can be hard to spot amongst all the barnacles. The monitoring team had their work cut out for them! Check out the picture below to see how many oyster spat you can see.


Now look at the picture below to see if you got them all (oyster spat circled in yellow).

Oyster spat circled in yellow

If you want to help monitor the VOGs on the R.E. Olds pier, contact the Sustainability Coordinator for more information.