Headline for Featured Item #1 Volunteers Help Restore Oyster Reef Habitat at Goose Island State Park - Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
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Volunteers Help Restore Oyster Reef Habitat at Goose Island State Park

April 08, 2013

oyster reef

ROCKPORT, Texas – More than 200 volunteers helped restore an oyster reef habitat on Saturday, April 6, where they bagged over 17,000 pounds of reclaimed oyster shells and carried those bags to the water at Goose Island State Park in Rockport, Texas.

The project was hosted by the Department of Life Sciences at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies. This innovative project recycled oyster shells back into the Gulf of Mexico waters and created a habitat where young oysters could attach and grow, ensuring the abundance of the mollusks for future commercial harvests.

The project is co-coordinated by Dr. Jennifer Pollack of the University’s Life Sciences Department and Gail Sutton, Assistant Director of the Harte Research Institute. Pollack, along with Sutton and Dr. Paul Montagna, developed the first oyster shell recycling program for the Texas Coastal Bend in November 2009. Three restoration events were held in 2012, bringing in hundreds of community volunteers.

“We were very excited to partner with Goose Island State Park again this year to create new oyster habitat using recycled oyster shells,” said Pollack, Assistant Professor of Marine Biology. “In Texas, there is no mechanism to return these important reef-building blocks to local bays, so these volunteer events are an important way that we can improve oyster reefs in our own backyard.” 

This program was the first in Texas to reclaim more than 300,000 pounds of shucked oyster shells from Water Street Restaurant and Niko’s Steakhouse returning them to our local waters, providing both substrate to form new reefs and habitat for fish, crabs, and other organisms.

During the past year, recycled shells have been used to restore a 3.8 acre reef in Copano Bay, which helped build an educational oyster reef near Goose Island State Park that has been easily accessible to Corpus Christi Independent School District students for use in their aquatic science curriculum.

For more information go to http://www.oysterrecycling.org/.


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