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The Harte Research Institute at TAMUCC builds new recycled reef

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Posted at 5:23 PM, Jul 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-20 21:22:25-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Hart Research Institute at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi announced they have been working with several partners to create nearly three acres of restored oyster reef off Goose Island State Park.

Oysters play an important role improving water quality and providing habitat for fish and other sea life. Experts estimate 90 percent of native oyster reef habitats have been lost due to harvesting efforts and dredging of oyster reefs.

“A lot of people love to eat oysters, but they often don’t realize what an important role they play in our environment,” said Gail Sutton, HRI associate director and co-founder of the institute’s Oyster Recycling Program, Sink Your Shucks. “They’re the water treatment plants of the bays. One oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day.”

The Hart Institute’s oyster recycling program has spent the last decade collecting 2 million pounds of oyster shells from local restaurants and wholesalers and placing them back in the environment.
Within the last several weeks, workers placed over 200 concrete barriers end to end in a designated reef site, adding on over 300 thousand pounds of recycled oyster shell on top.

HRI scientists and students will closely monitor the oyster reef over time to observe their performance, growth and diversity of life on the reef. Long-term monitoring helps officials to ensure these investments in the environment are a success over time.