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Energy & Environment

Last Block Of Artificial Oyster Reef Slides Into Place

Environmentalists are banking on the limestone structure to restore Matagorda Bay.



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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is set to lay down the final limestone block of the Half Moon Reef project in Matagorda Bay, 100 miles southwest of Houston. The $6 million artificial reef is designed to rebuild the region’s oyster beds.

Oysters are natural filters, each processing between 40 to 60 gallons of water per day. In recent decades, a combination of storms and overharvesting wiped out local oyster beds that once covered more than 500 acres, damaging water quality. Laura Huffman is Texas state director for the Nature Conservancy, which collaborated with the Corps of Engineers on the project.

“Making sure that the Gulf of Mexico is healthy is extraordinarily important as we turn to it time and time again as a source of energy independence, as a source of seafood for this country, as a huge source of recreation and tourism. It’s just serving a lot of different purposes, all of which depend on it being a healthy natural system.”

The Half Moon Reef covers 45 acres. The Conservancy is hoping to build a similar reef in Galveston Bay.

The Nature Conservancy is working to restore Half Moon Reef, an underwater oyster colony in the heart of Matagorda Bay, which is one of the most productive fisheries for blue crabs, oysters and shrimp in Texas. You can read more about this innovative project at

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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