Published: May 01, 2013 6:36 PM EDT
Updated: May 02, 2013 12:53 PM EDT

PUNTA GORDA, Fl. - This December, people in Charlotte County will have more than just fish to watch for in the water.  Environmental experts have plans to restore oyster reefs in the harbor.

The pilot project will begin in a few months.

For much of this water, people say oysters are a thing of the past.

"When I was a kid you could actually just go to a lot of places and just go picking them up out of the water and now they're not there no more, its gone," says Paul West.

Laura Geselbracht with the Nature Conservancy is hoping to change that by restoring the oyster reefs in Charlotte Harbor, a population she says was extensive about a century ago.

"They're very important as fish habitat, producing food for fish, cleansing the water, stabilizing the shorelines and they're gone so we would like to place them back in," she says.

Wednesday, the City Council gave Geselbracht support to move forward with a pilot project to restore the oyster reefs.

She plans to make 12 small reefs that would cover about a quarter acre off shore.

The pilot project will test 3 different ways to build the reefs.  the first is an oyster mat, attaching 36 oysters to plastic mesh.  Over time, that number will grow.

"It takes about a year, the oysters fill in. Larva oysters are attracted to the she'll, they settle on it and grow and within a year you get some fairly sizable oysters on the reef," she adds.

An outcome this fisherman is looking forward to.

"brings back fish ... it rebuilds the environment and its something for a lot of tourists who never get to see anything like that," West adds.