The Cleaning Crew:

Reducing the Human Footprint on Tropical Waters

Pilot Project to Remediate Near Shore Waterways with Designed Habitats for Indigenous Filter Feeders

Compliments of Charlie and Kristine of

‘Using nature to restore and sustain nature!’

Filter Feeders At Work

Problem Statement:

“Several issues have substantially contributed to and exacerbated the impact of the increased human population. Canals constructed with miles of seawalls free of mangroves , minimal or non-existent flow-thru/ water turn-over, and excessive depth, cannot naturally remove the constant onslaught of nutrient rich residential septic leachate, nutrient and hydrocarbon laden storm-water run-off, and increased construction activities. The severely limited circulation results in waterways with stratified layers, excessive organic loading, a deep heavy mat of sediment lining canal bottoms, a severe hypoxic or anoxic layer at the bottom, and documented pathogens hazardous to human and coral reef health including coliform bacteria and Serratia marcescens, a human sewage pathogen that has been linked to White Spot disease in elkhorn corals (Acropora palmate) in the Florida Keys[i].


By using systems that reintroduce and promote the growth and survivability of natural filter feeder organisms into the near-shore waterways, the negative impacts of the “Human Footprint” can be reversed in these waterways, bringing improved quality of life to Keys residents, ecosystems and improved fisheries populations.

[i] Sutherland, K.P. 2005. Ecology of the coral disease pathogen, Serratia marcescens, in the Florida Keys. 105th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. Atlanta, GA.