In recognition of the importance of oyster reefs to overall coastal ecosystem functions, large- and small-scale restoration of oyster reef habitats is ongoing in most coastal U.S. states. However, a consensus on what constitutes a “successful” or for that matter failed shellfish restoration project currently does not exist. The most commonly used metric of success until recently was the presence of market-sized oysters (75 mm or 3” SH), which is a fishery metric, even though large numbers of smaller oysters (or other filter- feeders initially) may be of equal or greater ecological significance.
The Oyster Restoration Workgroup was established to address questions related to shellfish restoration success, especially all pertinent issues associated with the restoration of both intertidal and subtidal oyster reefs. This website was created to: (1) enable visitors to view findings from past meetings and workshops; (2) share and see upcoming events (e.g., workshops, meetings, publications, findings, etc.); (3) obtain contact information for professionals and experts working in the field; and (4) find links to the latest literature, including suggested approaches for measuring restoration success based on a suite of agreed upon goals and associated metrics from a workshop that included a group of restoration practitioners. We are currently working to expand the site with the help of NOAA, TNC and others to meet the needs of the shellfish community.
The group and website began in 2004 at a three-day workshop held in Myrtle Beach, SC with the support of SCDNR, the SC Sea Grant Consortium, the Coastal Carolina University (CCU), NOAA and later The Nature Conservancy (TNC). The goal is to engender your support to expand the existing website. Sections include how to monitor reefs, funding prospects and work from living shoreline efforts that incorporate shellfish species. Several years ago we added a section on the restoration and biology of the native west coast oyster(s), Ostrea lurida (Olympia) and O. conchaphila.
The site also includes all related shellfish (e.g., ICSR, NSA, BEM, links) efforts. With new funding from TNC, SC Sea Grant Consortium, and NOAA we will be greatly enhance the site with recent work by the Oyster Restoration Metrics Working Group (NOAA, TNC, USA and FAU) that includes “universal metrics” and associated monitoring guidelines for oyster restoration projects, as well as methods to assess specific restoration goals and ecosystem services associated with restoration efforts. A clickable “geomap” with links to recent and ongoing large and small restoration projects and related websites for each state or country is next on our list of new tools. Our hope is that people from around the globe will fill out the form, join (see below) the informal group and send us links to their oyster, clam, scallop, and other bivalve ecological restoration and enhancement efforts (email to Dr. Loren Coen at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please join the related Shellfish Restoration Web Group, by visiting this link to join.