Oyster Reef Restoration in Galveston Bay

Under water damage caused by Hurricane Ike
is being addressed in the waters near San Leon.

Rod Rice reports that Texas Parks and Wildlife
has received 50-thousand dollars to continue
oyster reef restoration.

The goal of the project is to improve recreational fishing in the area and gain the ecosystem benefits of an oyster reef. Water filtration is one such benefit according to Bill Rodney a biologist with Parks and Wildlife.

“A single oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day.  A large concentration of oysters can filter a very significant amount of water and that has implications for water quality and water clarity.”

And he says a well established oyster bed is also home to small creatures that are a food source for larger fish.

The oyster reef restoration is taking place along the north facing shore of Eagle Point, about six miles southeast of Kemah.

“Basically the idea is to build a bunch of small patches of oyster reef close in shore adjacent to existing piers and recruiting the waterfront property owners to be sort of stewards of the reef.”

The landowners are also asked to do some oyster gardening, a process in which bags of oyster shells are hung from piers to grow baby oysters.

“After they grow some oysters in these bags the bags will be dumped out on the existing oyster reefs that we will build.”

Rodney said oyster larvae have already been found at a similar project complete in September. He said oyster grow quickly in Galveston Bay and adult oysters should be seen within two years.

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