Bayou La Battle, AlabamaWKRGMore) – Phase 2 of the Oyster Reef Reclamation Project by The Nature Conservancy, USA Marine Sciences and Dauphin Island Sea Lab was completed on Wednesday.
The oyster reef was installed in 2011 as part of a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to protect shorelines in the event of an oil spill. Coral reefs have been placed on Coffee Island, the Mississippi Strait, and here in the Port of Alabama.
Over the years, coral reefs have been monitored to track their progress.
“The first few years it looked great,” said Judy Hayner of The Nature Conservancy. “We got a lot of oysters. There was a lot of waves and energy protection on the shoreline. But then what we started to notice was that the shells in those bags were breaking.”
Oyster shells were good for marine life, but they didn’t help the coastline as much as they thought.
Since then, The Nature Conservancy has worked with Mobile County to come up with better ways to protect the coastline, and soon a larger reef will be built and installed.
Instead of the first reef being wasted, volunteers pulled them up and helped save some of the oysters.
One of the people who helped sort and collect the 250 oysters has been involved with the project since its inception.
“It really means a lot to me to see this project from start to finish,” said Lauren Jakubowski of the Alabama Marine Resources Division. “Then you can see the effort that I and many other volunteers have put in to ensure that there are many oysters for future generations and that the reefs are repopulated.”
Once sorted, the oysters are loaded onto boats and put back into the water to produce more oysters and continue to help the ecosystem.
Alabama Power is one of many partners who have turned what was thought to be a two-day process into half a day’s work.
Alabama Power’s Beth Thomas said: “I think the spirit of volunteer cooperation and teamwork is great.
Work doesn’t stop there. The relocation portion of the project will continue until next week.
Volunteers and community partners will complete this project by picking up reef balls at the Dauphin Island Causeway and placing them in the Dog River.
https://www.wkrg.com/mobile-county/nearly-12-year-project-to-help-protect-alabamas-shoreline-is-drawing-to-a-close/ A nearly 12-year project to protect Alabama’s coastline is coming to an end