Saturday, February 1, 2014

2014 Oyster Festival - SCDNR and CCA team for shell recycling

CCA volunteers in front of Oyster Festival crowd
SCDNR trucks and bins were on site
In the fall of 2008, CCA South Carolina announced that they were developing a new dedicated marine habitat program called the Topwater Action Campaign. Now entering its sixth year of operation, the program’s mantra is “habitat today equals fish for tomorrow”. 

Working initially with state agencies, such as the S.C Department of Natural Resources, the program began to work on oyster shell recycling and restoration. The SCDNR S.C.O.R.E. program leads the way for oyster shell recycling in state waters and they partner with CCA, The Nature Conservancy and others in an effort to broaden the restoration efforts anywhere in our estuaries that can support oyster shell establishment.

2014 Oyster Festival logo
What is so important, and sometimes diluted in the conservation message, is that oyster shell (or substrate) is absolutely necessary for the best chance to establish a sustainable oyster fishery. Oysters filter the water and do a great job of improving overall water quality, but they also provide structure that small fish and crustaceans use as a home base until they mature and join the menagerie of other saltwater species that make our ecosystem so special and unique.

Cheers to the CCA volunteers (in orange shirts) that show up every year at the Oyster Festival at Boone Hall and help get the shucked oyster shells from the customer tables and into the large bins that SCDNR will take possession of. CCA Topwater leader Gary Keisler reports that volunteers arrive early in the day and generally go home by 3:30 after a serious workout of hauling oyster shells during the day where thousands of shellfish lovers shuck oysters with great vigor. As they say, it's one Shell of a Good Time!

To view past blog entries about oyster shell recycling click CCA, oyster festival, Topwater Action or The Nature Conservancy.

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