SUNSET BEACH, NC (WWAY) — NOAA reports estuaries provide habitat for about 68% of the U.S. commercial fish catch and 80% of recreational catch. Dozens of volunteers completed phase 3 of the Living Shoreline campaign, a project that started back in January along Sunset Beach.
The campaign is working toward maintaining clean water, natural and productive shorelines and a thriving oyster population. The Coastal Federation says for decades the typical response to prevent erosion has been to build hardened structures, but Coastal Outreach Specialist Bonnie Mitchell says the oyster reefs, oyster domes and marsh grass behind the reef is a better solution.
“Baby oysters swimming around looking for something hard to land on will have a great little habitat right here in this reef that we have built for them,” Mitchell said. “They can come, grow and hopefully create a beautiful reef that will mitigate that wave energy.”
Mitchell says their advocacy group is looking to keep the coast clear from debris, especially with this 60 feet long oyster reef.
Mitchell says 1 oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day with 1 acre of land supporting a million oysters. The Coastal Federation’s goal is to clean up 50 acres of oyster area which will effectively clean 2.5 billion gallons of water.