Rebuilding the Texas Oyster Reef

todayDecember 4, 2013 258

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    Rebuilding the Texas Oyster Reef

The Nature Conservancy has began to rebuild the historic Texas Oyster Reef, using an innovative approach; the project will contribute to the resiliency of Matagorda Bay in the Gulf of Mexico. The reef has virtually disappeared over the last century in Matagorda Bay, which was one the largest estuaries and most productive fisheries in Texas. The project is being financed with a $3.8 million grant through a variety of agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s , and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  John Herron, director of the Nature Conservancy here in Texas, explains the importance of this project to the ecosystem and  the entire bay,

“These oyster reefs are gone because they were over harvested over the years for food and then to use the shell for road building material.”
– John Herron

“In restoring the reef  were certainly restoring something that will have oysters and can be harvested for oysters but the benefit  really go beyond that. Oysters are great filters of water, each oyster filters about 50 gallons of water a day and so when you got  a 40 acre reef you’re filtering millions of gallons a day so these oysters really have an ecosystem benefit they’re helping keep the entire bay healthy by being a source of filtration that’s keeping the bay clean. A reef is kind of like a coral reef, its a home for other animals and other organisms as well , shrimp, crabs and small fish live among the oysters and an even larger fish will hang around the reef so an oyster reef has benefits for oysters, but  it has benefits for a lot of other living things as well as it benefits the health of the bay itself. An additional benefit of oyster reefs is protection from storm surges by the surges of high water at the oyster reef,” explained Herron.

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Mayra Toscano, KTSW News.

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