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Oyster Restoration and Community Based Efforts. By: TJ Medlock. Oysters. The Oyster. Scientific Name: Crassostrea virginica Common Names: Eastern oyster, American oyster Classification:

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the oyster
The Oyster
  • Scientific Name:Crassostrea virginica
  • Common Names: Eastern oyster, American oyster
  • Classification:
  • Kingdom AnimaliaPhylum MolluscaClass Pelecypoda or BivalviaOrder LamellibranchiaFamily FilibranchiaGenus Crassostreaspecies virginica
range habitat
Range habitat
  • "keystone species"
  • estuaries, sounds, bays, and tidal creeks
    • brackish water to full strength seawater
    • withstand wide variations in :
      • Temperature and salinity
      • concentrations of suspended sediments
      • dissolved oxygen
  • In South Carolina, almost all oysters live in the intertidal zone
    • submerged by the tide
      • filter phytoplankton
    • gentle slopes
life cycle
Life Cycle
  • Reproduction begins May goes through October
    • water temperatures greater than 68�F
  • Egg and sperm into water column
  • Planktonic (free-swimming) trochophore larva
    • about 6 hours
  • Fully shelled veliger larva
    • formed within 12 to 24 hours
    • remains planktonic for about 3 weeks.
    • Towards the end of this period it develops a foot (pediveliger)
    • settles to the bottom of the water column
  • Seeks adult oyster shell
    • larva cements itself and metamorphoses to the adult form.
    • newly attached oyster is "spat“
  • Fully functional reef
    • Usually develops in 3 to 5 years
reference chesapeake bay
Reference – Chesapeake Bay

Oyster population declined to almost 1% of original population

Original pop. Could filter the bay’s 19 trillion gallons in about a week

Current pop. Would take over a year to accomplish same thing

why restoration needed
Why Restoration needed?
  • Populations are lower now than they were in 1900
  • If removal of oysters by harvesting is not offset by replanting
    • resource declines due to reduced sufficient substrate
  • Currently less than 10% of the oysters harvested in SC are returned to SCDNR for use in habitat restoration
    • 2004-05 harvest season
      • SCDNR evaluated status of 22 SSGs
        • 11 had declined in quality
        • 7 improved
        • 4 were unchanged
      • In order to recover, DNR Shellfish Management closed 16 SSGs for commercial oyster harvesting
  • Need native oysters to re-colonize
    • New evidence of foreign oysters causing effects in ecosystems
    • Diseases
      • Dermo
      • MSX
causes of decline
Causes of Decline
  • closing of oyster canneries and most shucking houses
    • shortage of shucked oyster shell needed to cultivate and restore oyster beds
  • Over harvesting
    • backyard oyster roasts
    • by-the-bushel retail sales
      • Most shucked shells end up in garbage/driveways
causes of decline con t
Causes of Decline Con’t
  • destruction of habitat
    • Boat landings
    • docks
  • water pollution
  • negative effects from anthropogenic (man-made) stressors
    • nonpoint source runoff
    • wakes from increasing recreational boat traffic
  • Many other effects related to coastal development.
benefits of oyster reefs
Benefits of Oyster Reefs
  • Habbitat
    • Solid structure within the water column for sessile organisms
      • barnacles and sea anemones
    • Homes and hiding places
      • polychaete worms and soft-shell blue crabs
    • spawning substrate for fishes
      • gobies, blennies, and skilletfish
    • Concentrating prey (food) species for larger predator fishes
      • striped bass
    • Stabilizing bottom sediments for benthic organisms
      • trap sediments
      • Serving as breakwaters to protect adjacent shorelines from erosion
        • absorb wave energy, reducing erosion of adjacent salt marshes
          • Protect and promote growth of Spartina marsh grass
    • By products of oysters benefit hard clams and aquatic plants
      • Denitrification
    • Oysters sequester carbon from the water column as they form calcium carbonate shells.
      • As a carbon sink, oyster reefs potentially reduce concentrations of greenhouse gases
    • Filtration and clarification of water
      • Adult oysters filter up to 2.5 gallons of water per hour or up to 50 gallons per day
additional ecosystem value
Additional Ecosystem Value
  • oysters can influence water quality by reducing:
    • phytoplankton biomass, microbial biomass, nutrient loading, and suspended solids
    • “wastewater treatment facilities”
    • Promote sedimentation benefiting SAV
      • Submerged aquatic vegetation
  • “2O% reduction in total SAV in the Chesapeake Bay results in a loss of I-4 million dollars annually in fishery value”*
  • improvements in water quality in general are valued by the general public
    • swimming, boating, sport fishing, etc.
economic value
Economic Value
  • 2004-05 oyster landings valued at $1,236,242
    • down from previous season’s $1,321,738

27” spottail

habits for restoration
Habits for restoration
  • Previously degraded sites
  • Areas of mud flats away from SAV and salt marshes
    • Augment juvenile fish abundances
    • potentially increase fish productivity within estuaries
community based oyster restoration
Community based oyster restoration
  • provides tangible ecological benefits
  • Encourages stewardship
  • Involves local citizens
contributing companies organizations to oyster recycling
Contributing companies/organizations to Oyster recycling
  • Abe’s Oyster House
  • ACE Basin Field Station
  • ACE Basin/Donnelly WMA
  • Augie Hamlin
  • Beaufort County Department of Public Works
  • Belle W. Baruch Institute/Hobcaw Barony
  • Carolina Seafoods, Inc.
  • Charleston Bay Catering
  • Charleston County Parks & Recreation
  • Charleston Outdoor Catering
  • Charleston Restaurant Association
  • Coastal Conservation Association
  • Edisto State Park
  • Fisher Recycling
  • Gilligan’s Steamer and Raw Bar
  • Georgetown County Recreation & Leisure
  • Kiawah Island Recycling Dept.
  • Locklear’s Restaurant
  • Morgan Creek Grill
  • The Nature Concervancy
  • Red’s Ice House
  • Shuckers Raw Bar
  • South Carolina Parks, Recreation and Tourism
  • Sticky Fingers Restaurant
  • Sullivan’s Island Fire Dept.
  • Tide Water Catering
  • Town of Mount Pleasant
  • Town of McClellanville
  • Town of Port Royal
  • USFW Bears Bluff Fish Hatchery
  • USFW Garris Landing Field Station
recycling centers around sc
Recycling Centers around SC
  • http://saltwaterfishing.sc.gov/oyster.html
  • Myrtle Beach Bin at Shucker’s Raw Bar
  • Murrells Inlet Bin at Cedar Hill Landing
  • Murrells Inlet Bin at Garden City Fire Dept
  • Murrells Inlet Bin at Huntington Beach State Park
  • Georgetown Bin at Waccamaw River Bridge
  • McClellanville Bin at The Town Hall
  • Awendaw Bin at Garris/Moores Boat Landing
  • Mt. Pleasant Bin on Sweet Grass Basket Pkwy
  • Mt. Pleasant Bin at Red’s Ice House
  • Goose Creek Bin at Gilligan’s Restaurant
  • Ladson Bin at Jessen Boat Landing
  • West Ashley Bin at Charleston Outdoor
  • James Isl. Bin at Sol Legare Boat Landing
  • James Isl. Bin at SCDNR on Ft. Johnson Rd.
  • Johns Isl. Bin at Gilligan’s Restaurant
  • Wadmalaw Isl. Bin at Bears Bluff Fish Hatchery
  • Kiawah Bin at Mingo Point
  • Edisto Island Bin
  • Beaufort Bin at Beaufort County Public Works
  • Port Royal Bin at Sands Beach Boat Landing
  • Hunting Isl. Bin at Russ Point

Recycling Do's and Don'ts

  • DO separate shell from trash. Shell mixed with trash is not suitable for recycling. Provide separate containers for shell and trash.
  • DO dump shells from bags or containers and leave only shells in the bins.
  • DO bring your shell to the nearest shell recycling center. Maps are provided below. If a center is not shown near you, please call 843-953-9397.
  • DON'T put live oysters in South Carolina waters. If the oysters you purchased were harvested outside South Carolina, it is illegal to place them in SC waters. Placing imported oysters in our waters can create environmental problems and may harm local oysters or other animals.
  • DON'T put freshly shucked oysters shell in SC waters. To avoid contamination, shell should be recycled to DNR and properly quarantined for 6 months.
group involvement opportunities
Group Involvement Opportunities
  • April 19th, 2011
    • Riverland Terrace (Plymouth Landing)
      • JI, Charleston County, SC
the community can
The Community Can
  • Bagging
  • Boating
  • Planting
  • Monitoring
  • and much more

Volunteer of the Month

  • Involves community of all ages
    • Learning experience
    • Stewardship
    • awards


Southeast Aquatic Resource Partnership


Involving local life as best workforce

    • Learn about nature and established ecosystems
    • Put economic source up close and personal
    • Property value
    • Volunteer opportunities
      • More involved responsibilities include monitoring/testing/data collection
    • Establish landscape that community is accustomed to

Charleston Waterfront Park


South Carolina Oyster Restoration and Enhancement Sites

Murrell’s Inlet

Huntington Beach State Park

Pawley’s Island


Cape Romain

Palmetto County Park

SC Aquarium

Boone Hall

Alberta Long

Riverland Terrace

Patriots Point

Fort Johnson

Boy Scout Camp


Beaufort Marine Institute





Sites Constructed

Port Royal

Chowan Creek


Waddell Mariculture Center

Trask Boat Landing

Pinckney Refuge

Pinckney Landing

Since May 2001, more than 8000 volunteers have used more than 500 tons of shell to build 188 reefs at 35 reef sites along the South Carolina

established score program
Established SCORE Program
  • The sites span 200 miles of coastline from Murrell's Inlet to Hilton Head, South Carolina.
    • All of the reefs were constructed by community volunteers working under the direction of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR).
  • Accomplishments:
  • Over 25,000 volunteer hours donated by more than 8,000 individuals
  • Collected and processed more than 600 reef samples containing more than 300,000 spat in annual reef assessments.
  • Recycled and bagged over 20,000 bushels of oyster shell
  • Returned more than 500 tons of oyster shell to the local waters by constructing almost 41,000 square feet of oyster reef footprint (about an acre)
  • Approximately 25 teams of trained volunteers monitor water quality weekly at most sites
  • Marsh grass is growing in behind many SCORE reefs!
  • SCORE received the prestigious Coastal America Partnership Award in 2004.
additional score goals
Additional SCORE Goals
  • Develop a citizen constituency for oysters
  • “Grass-roots” effort to restore oysters
  • Increase public awareness of the value of oysters to the ecosystem
  • Influence public policy to provide greater protection for oyster habitats
  • Influence lawmakers to provide adequate funding for proper management of oyster resources
  • Expand the scope of our endeavors by utilizing volunteer labor
private dock involvment
Private Dock involvment
  • Relatively new program
    • Private ownership
      • Grow oysters for self and community
      • “fostering”
    • Grown on personal docks in the creek for spat collection
community funding
Community Funding
  • Fishing licenses
  • Oyster shucking knives
  • Stickers
  • Introduction of Non-Native Oysters: Ecosystem Effects and Restoration Implications. Jennifer L. Ruesink, Hunter S. Lenihan, Alan C. Trimble, Kimberly W. Heiman, Fiorenza Micheli, James E. Byers and Matthew C. Kay, Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics. Vol. 36, (2005), pp. 643-689. Annual Reviews. http://www.jstor.org/stable/30033820
  • Hadley, N. H., Hodges, M., Wilber, D. H. and Coen, L. D. (2010), Evaluating Intertidal Oyster Reef Development in South Carolina Using Associated Faunal Indicators. Restoration Ecology, 18: 691–701. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-100X.2008.00502.x http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1526-100X.2008.00502.x/abstract
  • Hadley, Nancy, and Michael Hodges. SCORE Home. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, May 2001. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. http://score.dnr.sc.gov/index.php
  • Grabowski, Jonathan H., and Charles H. Peterson. "Restoring Oyster Reefs to Recover Ecosystem Services." Ecosystem Engineers (2007): 281-98. Elsevier, Inc., 2007. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. http://life.bio.sunysb.edu/marinebio/bio371/downloads/07_grabowski.pdf
  • Stricklin, Alex G., Mark S. Peterson, John D. Lopez, Christopher A. May, Christina F. Mohrman, and Mark S. Woodrey. Do Small, Patchy, Intertidal Oyster Reefs Reduce Salt Marsh Erosion As Well As Natural Reefs? 2009. MS. University of Southern Mississippi. USM Gulf Coast Research Laboratory. Gulf and Caribbean Research, 2010. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. http://www.usm.edu/gcrl/cv/peterson.mark/docs/Stricklin.et.al.pdf
  • http://www.dnr.sc.gov/
  • http://picasaweb.google.com/scorednr
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