APALACHICOLA, Fla. (AP) -- Record rainfall may help Florida's ailing oyster industry recover from several years of droughts.
Florida State Climatologist David Zierden tells the Tallahassee Democrat (http://on.tdo.com/1hhE1wx ) that Florida, South Carolina and parts of Georgia saw near-record rainfall in the last six months of 2012 and throughout 2013.
Researchers have blamed the decline of the oyster population in the Apalachicola Bay on persistent droughts from 2009 through 2012 throughout the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint basin.
Water flows through the Jim Woodruff Dam into the Apalachicola River have been rising dramatically, even prompting flood warnings from the National Weather Service during the first week of this year.
Other researchers say the rising freshwater flows are a promising sign, but the oyster industry still needs more efforts to recover.
Illegal harvesting also has strained the bay's oyster population.