Man-made Oyster Reefs Growing In Galveston Bay

A community effort to restore damaged oyster reefs continues this weekend along Galveston Bay. Man-made reefs will soon have young oysters taking up residence.


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Hurricane Ike wiped-out or damaged many of the oyster reefs in Galveston Bay, but local residents have been nursing
them back to health since then. Bob Stokes is with the Galveston Bay Foundation and says the reefs are coming back thanks to a little help. 

“We work to create a new reef structure. We do that by laying down a thin layer of crushed concrete, or crushed
limestone down on the bay bottom, and we come in afterwards and we bring oyster shell, and we put the oyster shell on top of that and the oyster reef really starts growing almost immediately.”  

The reefs near Bacliff and San Leon are about 200 feet offshore and the oysters there aren’t for consumption and are
only to help the ecosystem.

This Saturday, residents who have been growing young oysters will lay them on top of the man-made oyster bed.

“Each oyster can filter up to 50-gallons of water per day. And so as the reefs are growing and solidifying, they’re actually cleaning the water in the local area. But then really, frankly the reason a lot of these people are interested and a lot of people are involved is that reef structure really improves the fishing in the area.”  

Texas and Louisiana have some of the last healthy oyster reefs in the world. A recent study found that 85-percent of the world’s oyster reefs have been destroyed.


Written by Jack Williams and voiced by Carrie Feibel.

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