100% of the oyster shells that we recycle are returned to the water! In partnership with local communities and over 2,000 volunteers, CRCL has constructed over 8,000 feet of oyster reef living shoreline protection with our recycled shells. Our reefs create habitat for oysters and other marine life to grow, protecting our coast from erosion, sea-level rise and storm damage while supporting the local seafood industry. We construct one reef per year using the shell we collect through the OSRP. Each year, we visit our reef sites to count the number of new oysters growing on top of the recycled shells and assess other ecosystem benefits.
Biloxi Marsh Living Shoreline, St. Bernard Parish
- Built in 2016 using 868 tons of shell deployed by crane in gabion baskets to restore 0.5 mi of reef.
- Partners include LDWF, CPRA, NFWF, TNC, and Shell; reef constructed by LeBlanc Marine, LLC.
- Reef has reduced shoreline erosion rates of bordering marsh by 50% compared to local marsh without protection.
- Oyster density decreased in 2019 (7.10 ind/m2) likely from salinity changes via the Bonnet Carre Spillway opening.
- Two spat sets and a live oyster density of 42.66 ind/m2 were observed in 2020, the highest density to date.
- December 2021 monitoring observed 12% fewer live oysters than 2020, likely due to impacts from Hurricane Ida.
Pointe-au-Chien Community Reef, Lafourche Parish
- Built in 2019 using 200 tons of bagged shell deployed by hand to restore 400 ft of reef at an Indigenous mound site.
- Partners include Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe, GoMA, Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes, LDWF, NOAA, and Shell.
- Aerial imagery analysis suggests reef has reduced shoreline erosion compared to local unprotected marsh areas.
- A 7% decrease in live oysters but 15% increase in spat-sized oysters was observed in 2021 compared to 2020.
- An average 1.85 ppt salinity increase and 17% more live barnacles were observed in 2021 across sampling sites.
Barataria Bay Living Shoreline, Jefferson Parish
- Built in 2020 using 800 tons of shell deployed by crane in gabion baskets to restore 0.75 mi of reef.
- Partners include LDWF, NFWF, WCS, and Shell; reef constructed by Coastal Environments, Inc.
- December 2021 monitoring revealed at least one generation of oyster spat and a healthy assortment of other organisms, including small stone crabs, mussels and barnacles.
- The reef was undamaged by Hurricane Ida.
Plaquemines Community Reef, Plaquemines Parish
- Built in 2021 using 150 tons of bagged shell deployed by hand to restore 300 ft of reef at an Indigenous mound site.
- Partners include Grand Bayou Indian Village, St. Paul’s Episcopal, EMR Recycling, Phillips 66, and Coypu Foundation.
- Comparisons of aerial imagery from July 2021 and September 2021 indicate marsh without reef protection sustained more shoreline erosion and storm damage from Hurricane Ida than marsh shoreline with reef protection