DMR Replanting Storm Damaged Oyster Reefs - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

DMR Replanting Storm Damaged Oyster Reefs

The Department of Marine Resources is helping restore the hard-hit oyster industry in Mississippi. Hurricane Katrina destroyed many of the most productive oyster reefs.

A "shell planting" project is a first step in restoring the storm damaged reefs.

An avalanche of oyster shells rains down on the Mississippi Sound, just off Henderson Point. High pressure hoses blast giant piles of shell over a 75 acre site. Five thousand cubic yards of oyster shell will help restore productivity to this storm-damaged reef.

"After the larvae are in the water, they begin to settle out. And they try to find a clean, hard surface on which to attach to. And that's the purpose the oyster shells are going to serve," said Scott Gordon, who directs the Shellfish Bureau for the DMR.

Recycled oyster shells are the preferred material for growing more oysters. Once deposited on the reefs, the shells should begin producing new oysters soon. It's boosting the natural process of Mother Nature, but still takes time.

"We're looking at 18 to 24 months from when the oyster larvae attaches to the cultch material, to a market size oyster in Mississippi," Gordon explained.

The shell plantings are normally considered an enhancement to the oyster industry. But this year's project is far more critical, since Katrina destroyed so many of the established reefs.  Early estimates show the hurricane caused significant damage to more than 90 percent of the 12 thousand acres of oyster reefs in Mississippi waters.

"The reefs were physically scoured and moved. We had them covered over with mud and silt and debris. We also had some instances of low water quality and dissolved oxygen, so the reefs actually smothered," Gordon said.

Restoring them requires time and money. Gordon says this 140 thousand dollar project is the first of several such efforts.

"I'm anticipating getting a considerable amount of money to help us rebuild these reefs," said Gordon.

That's welcome news to the fishermen who depend on the reefs to make a living.

Scott Gordon says oyster season this fall remains in doubt because of the extensive storm damage. If there is a season, it will likely be for a limited time, in limited areas of the Mississippi Sound.

By Steve Phillips

  • NEWSMore>>

  • Neshoba's giant house party in high gear

    Neshoba's giant house party in high gear

    Sunday, July 23 2017 10:26 AM EDT2017-07-23 14:26:44 GMT
    The cabins are packed at the Neshoba County Fair for ths annual Mississippi tradition (Photo Source: Google)The cabins are packed at the Neshoba County Fair for ths annual Mississippi tradition (Photo Source: Google)

    Mississippi’s giant house party might not have the fanfare of 2016. But, it’s still a must visit event for families across the magnolia state. This year is not a political year in Mississippi. So, the political stumping is not nearly as significant as it can be. Yet, this Wednesday and Thursday, people will gather under the pavilion at Founders Square and listen to a series of speeches from Mississippi’s elected leaders.

    More >>

    Mississippi’s giant house party might not have the fanfare of 2016. But, it’s still a must visit event for families across the magnolia state. This year is not a political year in Mississippi. So, the political stumping is not nearly as significant as it can be. Yet, this Wednesday and Thursday, people will gather under the pavilion at Founders Square and listen to a series of speeches from Mississippi’s elected leaders.

    More >>
  • Tax-free shopping holiday starts Friday

    Tax-free shopping holiday starts Friday

    Sunday, July 23 2017 9:53 AM EDT2017-07-23 13:53:43 GMT
    Cash registers will be busy next weekend when Mississippi hotds its annual sales tax holiday (Photo Source: WLOX News Now)Cash registers will be busy next weekend when Mississippi hotds its annual sales tax holiday (Photo Source: WLOX News Now)

    If you need clothes, shoes, or even a backpack, and you like to save a few dollars, you might want to postpone your shopping excursion until next Friday and Saturday.. Those two days are tax-free shopping days across Mississippi. In 2009, the Mississippi legislature created the sales tax holiday.

    More >>

    If you need clothes, shoes, or even a backpack, and you like to save a few dollars, you might want to postpone your shopping excursion until next Friday and Saturday.. Those two days are tax-free shopping days across Mississippi. In 2009, the Mississippi legislature created the sales tax holiday.

    More >>
  • Buddy bags make transition easier for foster kids

    Buddy bags make transition easier for foster kids

    Sunday, July 23 2017 9:27 AM EDT2017-07-23 13:27:58 GMT
    Donations are being accepted to fill buddy bags (Photo Source: buddybagsms.com)Donations are being accepted to fill buddy bags (Photo Source: buddybagsms.com)

    A collection drive starts in D’Iberville this week to make life just a little bit better for children in Mississippi’s foster care system. One80 Fitness will help create Buddy Bags. These bags contain new and gender-neutral fleece blankets, stuffed animals, hygiene kits and activity books. To fill the next 100 bags, organizers need help. They need people to donate blankets and hygiene kits.

    More >>

    A collection drive starts in D’Iberville this week to make life just a little bit better for children in Mississippi’s foster care system. One80 Fitness will help create Buddy Bags. These bags contain new and gender-neutral fleece blankets, stuffed animals, hygiene kits and activity books. To fill the next 100 bags, organizers need help. They need people to donate blankets and hygiene kits.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly