Oyster Abodes

Groups Work To Replenish And Give Homes To Our Most Beloved Bivalves

Restoring the oyster population in Hampton Roads

Virginia Zoo Photo by Winfield Danielson

Local environmental group Lynnhaven River Now (LRN), a grassroots non-profit, is taking action to preserve and rebuild our aquatic environment and help out our marine neighbors, specifically the oyster.

Working with Oyster Castles, a product of Allied Concrete Company, LRN is creating its first private property build in the area. With locations already at Broad Bay Island, the second phase of construction at the site began on June 2. Stretching more than 700 feet off the shore, these unique oyster “castles,” made up of manufactured concrete, foster oyster settlement, attachment and growth and can be seen from the West Great Neck Road Bridge a few hundred feet out in the water. At this location the oysters are already flourishing at the first build site, and LRN is projecting the same results at the second location.

In an effort to clean up our waterways and replenish the drastically decreased populations of oysters in our rivers and bay, LRN is offering assistance to Hampton Roads homeowners by assessing location sites for potential castles and assistance with all of the paperwork and planning that comes with installation. With five oyster castle projects already in progress in the Lynnhaven watershed, more private property builds are in the works.

In other efforts to revitalize the oyster population in Hampton Roads, The Chesapeake Bay Foundation with its partner, the Virginia Zoo, has implemented structures into our waterways that are similar to oyster castles. These unique designs are referred to as oyster reef balls, and 25 of these balls have already been dropped into the Lafayette River near the zoo. With plans of installing up to 104 of these structures, the dome-shaped creations are constructed from concrete and are seeded with live baby oysters, or “spat.” These baby oysters will be the beginning of the pivotal process of reviving the population of “Chesapeake gold,” or local oysters in our waters.

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