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Mobile Bay Oyster Gardening Program (Part 2)

November 5, 2019


(PJ Waters): These are the clumps that we’re trying to produce in oyster gardening for restoration. This looks more
like a natural oyster reef. (Bill Walton): So, believe it or not, this is one
of the reasons that we haven’t had as many oysters as we would like naturally
in Alabama. And this is what we call the oyster drill. And this little guy is actually
one of the most significant predators of oysters in Alabama.
(Waters): One of the things that you can see, talking about some oyster drills
that we spoke about over at the farm. You can see the egg casings from the drills,
and this tells us that the drills are here. Even if the oysters themselves don’t make it,
which is unfortunate, the shell itself is habitat. See a little stone crab,
which I dropped. (Scott Rikard): Again, this is going to produce a natural reef-type oyster. Big clumps of oyster that form a reef structure. So, not only are we restoring oyster habitat,
but it’s creating a reef structure for other animals to use also. (Waters): The habitat, we know of 300 different species of vertebrates and invertebrates that utilize oyster reefs for habitat at different stages of their life cycles.
The filtration capacity of these animals is really incredible. An adult oyster can filter
up to four gallons of water an hour. So, they are just really powerhouse filters.
When we replant a reef, we’re not only providing a habitat, but we’re providing the benefit to the water quality of the area as well. This is another value of a reef-restoration project is that when you do plant this shell,
you can see the juvenile oysters — the spat — will set on the shell. So, here’s some more spat. You can see a little purple color, a little fan shape. It grows real flat to this shell until it gets some
size on it, then it will peel off and form more of a clump. See, there’s one there.
There’s one here. Appears this one is a little large on here. So, this would have been this past season’s set. Hopefully, these will grow and survive and spawn
to produce more larvae for this area.

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