Oyster Reserve Establishment in Mississippi Sound

We propose to establish the first oyster reserve (10 acres) within Alabama’s coastal waters (Portersville Bay, Mississippi Sound) through a long-term (20 yr) lease agreement with a private oyster riparian right holder. This effort will serve as a regional source of larvae to benefit local oyster populations and improve coastal habitat by establishing new oyster reefs. The site will also serve as an ongoing research and education platform, working with collaborators in the region. Although conceived before the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (DHOS) in the northern Gulf of Mexico, this reserve will serve as an ideal starting point for evaluating the impacts on oysters and providing valuable spawning stock. To date, no mortalities of adult oysters in AL have been attributed to the DHOS and we do not anticipate that the DHOS will prevent this project from proceeding. In 2011, the reserve will be established and harvest will cease. Juvenile oyster habitat will be improved by the creation of 10 replicate reefs using oyster shell cultch, for a total of 1,000 m2. Additionally, 5 spawning stock ‘beds’ will be established in the reserve stocked with oysters from the volunteer-based Mobile Bay Oyster Gardening Program (for a total of 50,000 oysters over 250 m2). The outcomes of this project will be tracked throughout the project and > 12 months afterwards; metrics include oyster density, size structure and condition index, as well as areal measures of cultched and stocked areas.

This site is not any way to be considered an official web site of any university or outreach organization. The material on this site is not officially approved, licensed, sponsored or endorsed by any such organization. No organizations assume express or implied responsibility for any component of this site, including content, presentation, usability, accessibility, accuracy or timeliness, nor of any links directed from this site. For information about this web site, please contact Bill Walton. 2012