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Virginia CZM Program 2005 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:

FY2005 Task 9.21


Virginia Marine Resource Commission

Project Title:

Seaside Heritage Program - Oyster Reef Restoration

Project Description as Proposed:

Oyster reefs will be constructed in association with eelgrass restoration projects. Reef restoration and eelgrass planting efforts have been very encouraging for the past 5 years, especially, in the Cobb Island and South Bay areas of Northampton County. For FY 05 reefs will be constructed in South Bay, behind Wreck Island.

Reefs will be constructed from shells that have been harvested from local fossil shell deposits or from conch shells from shucking houses. Because of the shallow water of the Seaside Bays, small shell harvesting and reef construction equipment will be used. Reefs average 1,000 to 4,000 bushels each, vary from 200 to 800 square feet of footprint, and are approximately 1 to 1.5 feet tall. Shell costs vary from $1.00 to $1.50 per bushel to construct the reefs. At completion of this project, 12 to 25 new oyster reefs will have been constructed. All reef building activity will occur between May and July, 2006. Reefs will be monitored for spatset in the Fall of 2006.

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

James Wesson, 757.247.2121;

Project Status:

Project Completed

Final Product Received:

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

Oyster reefs were constructed in the Brockenberry area near Oyster, Northampton County, during April 2006.  Reefs were constructed on Public Ground # 17 at approximately 37º 17' 35', 75º 45' 49'.  Conch shells were loaded and transported from a processing plant to Oyster Harbor, then loaded onto small barges and transported to the construction site.  A total of 29, 400 bushels of conch shells were deployed onto 3 areas for a total of 0.93 acres.  The cost of the conch shells was $1.655/bushel for a total of $48,657.00.  In May, an additional 1,200 bushels of dredged oyster shells were added to one area to complete the project ($1.20/bushels = $1,340.00). Spatset was monitored in late November.  All 3 small reefs received a very high spatset. South Area - 3,308 spat/meter. North  Area - 2,952 spat/meter. Marsh Area - 1,756 spat/meter

"No Harvest" signs were placed on the 3 newly constructed areas.

Disclaimer: This project summary provides the federal dollars initially awarded to the grantee. Due to underexpenditure or reprogramming of grant funds, this figure may change. For more information on the allocation of coastal grant funds, please contact Laura McKay, Virginia Coastal Program Manager, at 804.698.4323 or email:

A more detailed Scope of Work for this project is available. Please direct your request for a copy to

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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