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Oyster reef restoration project underway on Coast

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune.

(Photo from The Nature Conservancy)

  • DMR Executive Director Spraggins said the coordinated effort with The Nature Conservancy is an “excellent use of public trust tidelands funding.”

The Nature Conservancy in Mississippi in the Bay of St. Louis is constructing a nearly 35-acre reef intended to restore oysters to the Gulf Coast following natural and man-made disasters that have decimated local oyster populations.

According to The Nature Conservancy, the reef is being built with over 11,000 limestone rock “pods” or mounds that add vertical height and complexity creating a complex three-dimensional habitat ideal for recreational fishing opportunities. This vertical configuration provides resiliency, giving growing oysters added protection against low oxygen and freshwater flooding events, such as the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway.

In a statement sent to Magnolia Tribune on Wednesday, Tom Mohrman, The Nature Conservancy’s Director of Marine Programs, said one of the group’s goals is to develop projects that support local economies by strengthening and enhancing coastal habitat.

“Healthy ecosystems support jobs, public health, a sense of place, as well as build habitat and biodiversity for communities to enjoy. Healthy ecosystems support healthy economies,” Mohrman said.

The reef has been named after longtime Bay St. Louis resident and famed Hancock County chef and restaurant owner, Tony Trapani.

Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Executive Director Joe Spraggins praised the coordination with the conservation group, saying in a statement that “the Tony Trapani Reef is an excellent use of public trust tidelands funding.”

The Nature Conservancy told Magnolia Tribune that the reef project had received $200,000 in tidelands funds.

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Read original article by clicking here.

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