Jail inmates will help in Indian River Lagoon cleanup project

A new push to clean up the Indian River Lagoon involves inmates from the Brevard County Jail.

Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivy on Wednesday announced that his agency is partnering with the Brevard Zoo, to help fight the ongoing algae crisis in local waters.

The sheriff says inmates, or chain gangs as he called them, will do the meticulous and long job of creating oyster mats -- big mesh squares with oysters fastened to them which acts as a natural filtration system.  Officials said one oyster can sift 50 gallons of water a day.

"This is going to be a pretty much full-time project for them," he said.

Inmates have been used to clean up red tide from our beaches. This effort with the oysters also involves 13 area restaurants, through a "Shuck-and-Share" program, in which 3.6 million pounds of shells have been collected.