Barge with reef material. via North Carolina Coastal Federation

NC - Plans for 15 Additional Acres of Oyster Reef Construction in Pamlico Sound Underway

Baby oysters and many coastal species will soon have a new home in the Pamlico Sound.

The North Carolina Coastal Federation, in partnership with the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, has been recommended for funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to add 15 acres of new oyster reef habitat in Pamlico Sound.

This large-scale, $2,250,000 project expands on the state’s investment in oyster restoration and will benefit not only oysters but also coastal species such as gag grouper and white, brown and pink shrimp.

Project partners will use proven construction practices to build these additional oyster reefs in the Pamlico Sound, targeting the addition of five acres per year over the next three years for a total of 15 acres.

Year one construction will add five acres of reef material to the Swan Island sanctuary. Additional sites for subsequent reef construction will be selected based on input from the public, coupled with the best science available and logistical considerations.

Building new oyster reefs is a strategy that is laid out in the North Carolina Oyster Blueprint. Since 2003, the federation has been leading efforts of a diverse group of stakeholders involved in growing, harvesting, studying, educating, managing and eating oysters. Collectively, the group has worked together to protect and restore North Carolina’s oyster habitats and fisheries by implementing strategies outlined in the Blueprint. The five-year blueprint is currently being updated and the ultimate goal is to ensure North Carolina becomes the Napa Valley of Oysters, according to NCCF.

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