Skip to main content

Virginia Oyster Habitat Declared Restored

Publish date:

The Lafayette Branch of the Elizabeth River near Norfolk, Virginia, last week became the first Virginia waterway declared restored for oyster habitat by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

"On behalf of the Chesapeake Bay Program, NOAA is excited to mark this important milestone," said Sean Corson, acting director of NOAA's Chesapeake Bay Office. "We were delighted to be part of the effort by funding reef construction and providing needed habitat survey work to guide restoration."

Work on restoring the Lafayette Branch’s oyster reefs started in 2010 and included rebuilding 12 oyster reefs over 32 acres of bottom. The reefs are built up using crushed concrete, rock and recycled oyster shells, and then seeded with baby oysters. In addition to the filtering qualities the oysters impart, oyster reefs provide vital habitat for fish and other aquatic life.

"It's unbelievable that a part of the Elizabeth River, once presumed dead, now leads Virginia for restoration of the native oyster," said Elizabeth River Project executive director Marjorie Mayfield Jackson.



Thank Goodness For Oysters

It’s primetime for oyster season around much of the country. Soundings’ senior editor and resident oyster aficionado, Gary Reich, shares how to enjoy oysters before your Thanksgiving feast, or anytime during the winter.


The Mysterious Love Lives of Oysters

We get a glimpse of the mysterious love lives of oysters at a hatchery on Chesapeake Bay.


10 Billion Oysters

A single oyster can filter as much as 50 gallons of water a day, making the bivalve a critical puzzle piece in the effort to clean up Chesapeake Bay. Twenty groups, ranging from oyster farmers to research organizations, plan to boost the Chesapeake Bay’s oyster population to 10 billion by 2025, improving the Bay’s water quality in the process.


Oyster Ranchers

A single oyster can filter 50 gallons of water in a day, making the tasty bivalves a critical link in improving water quality in Chesapeake Bay.