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Patriots Point Education Department helps SC DNR build oyster reef

Molly Hamilton Aug 11, 2015

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum employees and volunteers joined forces with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources on Monday to place another oyster reef in the waters around the museum. This reef, made entirely of recycled oyster shells, was placed near the USS Laffey between two other reefs that had been placed previously.

Patriots Point employees and volunteers work with the SC DNR to build an oyster reef near the USS Laffey

Patriots Point employees and volunteers work with the SC DNR to build an oyster reef near the USS Laffey

The Education Department at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum was happy to partner with the SC DNR for this important task. As hundreds of students come through various educational programs at Patriots Point each year, the reefs provide a visible example of the environment and what we must do to protect it as part of environmental stewardship.

The SC DNR places these reefs as part of their SCORE (South Carolina Oyster Restoration and Enhancement)program. Oysters play a tremendously important role in the estuary. As SCDNR Wildlife Biologist Jared Hulteen shared, “A creek without oysters is one without fish.”

Oysters offer three major benefits to their surrounding environment:
• They provide a habitat for many different organisms. As many as 120 marine species are dependent on oyster reefs at some point in their life cycle.
• Oysters act as a natural filter, filtering out pollutants, sediments and other organisms of up to 50 gallons of water a day per oyster.
• Oysters help to prevent shoreline erosion by absorbing the wind and wave energy coming into the surrounding marsh.

An oyster reef is the second most productive ecosystem – second only to the rainforest. The SC DNR depends on the efforts of the community to recycle oyster shells and provide the most important component for the construction of these oyster reefs. There are about 45 dropoff locations throughout the Lowcountry. For more information on these dropoff sites, check out this web page: http://saltwaterfishing.sc.gov/oyster.html.

Check out this gallery of photos of the oyster reef build:

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