Gulf of Mexico Foundation

Back to Gulf CRP Projects

Gulf of Mexico
2002 Projects
2003 Projects
2004 Projects
2005 Projects
2006 Projects
2007 Projects
2008 Projects
2009 Projects
2010 Projects
Marine Debris

2006 Projects
2007 Projects
2008 Projects
2009 Projects
2010 Projects



YEAR 2003 - CRP Project #2002 (Gulf of Mexico)

Project #2002
Shellfish Restoration & Crab Trap Recovery

Mobile, Alabama

Project name: #2002 Shellfish Restoration & Crab Trap Recovery
Project status: Complete
Grant Administrator: Gulf of Mexico Foundation (for NOAA)
Grantee: Mobile Bay National Estuary Program
Project location: Dauphin Island, Mon Luis Island & Grand Bay
Grant period: Jan 1, 2021 - Dec 31, 2020
Grant amount: $42,981
Land Ownership: State of Alabama and private homeowners
Lat/Long: Whitehouse Reef 3024.65 8804.03
Types of Habitat: oyster reef, submerged aquatic vegetation, salt marsh and brackish marsh wetlands and intertidal zone
Project leaders: David Yeager, Lee Yokel, Kim Hamilton, Kara Lankford
                          Mobile Bay National Estuary Program
                          4172 Commanders Drive
                          Mobile, AL 36615
                          (251) 431-6409 phone
                          (251) 431-6450 fax

Species To Benefit From Restoration:

  • oyster, Crassostrea virginica
  • blue crab, Callinectes sapidas
  • diamond back terrapin, Malaclemys terrapin
  • spotted sea trout, Cynnoscion nebulosus
  • southern flounder, Paralichthys lethostigma

Acres of Habitat Restored:

Oyster Gardening: Approximately 50,000 oysters were distributed in 2003 over roughly 10 acres of historical habitat on Whitehouse Reef. Success was also measured by the numbers of oysters returned to area reefs and the number of volunteers participating. Yearly monitoring will occur at GPS locations for future oyster distribution.

Crab Trap Removal: Individually, one crab trap is 9 square feet or 27 cubic feet maximum. The 2003 recovery resulted in 1,260 square feet of discrete restoration. Success was measured by the number of traps removed, number of volunteers participating and amount of live bycatch released.

Project Description:

This is a two-part project, one part oyster reef restoration and the other part crab trap removal. The combined program seeks to educate the public as well as enhance marine resources.

The oyster gardening program, in operation since 2001, involves acquiring wild spat, having volunteers grow the spat in specially designed cages, then distributing mature oysters onto a reef. An historic area of Whitehouse Reef was the target in 2003.

Alabama's derelict crab trap recovery effort, in operation since 2002, involves collecting abandoned traps from sensitive marine resources and reef areas. Over 1,000 derelict traps were removed from Mobile Bay in 2003. Removing traps reduces risk of traps getting into productive fishery resources. The program involves volunteers and organizations working in an area-wide cleanup.

Project Objectives:
    Oyster Gardening
  • Educate volunteers and public about oysters, reefs, and habitat conditions, as well as teach the value of conservation
  • Restore historic oyster reef habitat for oysters as well as for other marine species which are the base of the food chain for fish, crabs, and other species
  • Improve water quality through oyster filtration along Mon Louis Island
  • Grow oyster spat in a gardening project to give spat a better chance to mature through more controlled growing conditions

  • Crab Trap Removal
  • Remove derelict crab traps from sensitive ecosystems to improve habitat and reduce by-catch mortality
  • reduce risk of traps getting into productive fisheries resources
  • educate public and enhance marine resources

Project History:

The Oyster Gardening / Reef Restoration project will be in its third year of operation and was the first on the Gulf Coast. Small-scale aquaculture gardening programs exist in Maryland and Virginia as a means of restoring oyster population and improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. Similar programs are now beginning in Pensacola Bay as well as Charlotte Harbor, Florida. Shallow-water derelict crab trap recovery efforts have been held in Mississippi and Texas. A Gulf-wide working group exists through the National Marine Fisheries Service. These partners continue to work with the State of Alabama toward other marine resource conservation efforts.

Click on photo to enlarge

    Oyster Gardening 2003 - 7 photos

    Crab Trap Recovery 2003 - 12 photos

oyster shell - click to enlarge
Kara Lankford and Lee Yokel put aged dried oyster shell in bags to be placed on Cedar Point Reef to catch wild spat.

oyster spat - click to enlarge
June 29, 2021 - Wild-caught spat covers an oyster shell collected at Cedar Point Reef.

stocking oyster cages - click to enlarge
June 29, 2021 - Project leader Kara Lankford and volunteer Chris Bitoff stock his cage with spat-covered oyster shells.

after Hurricane Ivan - click to enlarge
Fishing pier destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in Sept 2004. Oysters were being grown in cages under piers such as these as part of project.

Oyster Gardening Map - click to enlarge
Oyster Gardening Map

Crab Trap Recovery Map - click to enlarge
Crab Trap Recovery Map

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


NOAA Restoration Center

Gulf of Mexico Foundation

Auburn University Marine Extension and Research Center AUMERC

Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium MASGC

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Marine Resources Division MRD

Alabama Department of Public Health ADPH

Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL)


Gulf of Mexico Foundation - PMB 51, 5403 Everhart - Corpus Christi, TX 78411
(800) 884-4175 toll free - (361) 882-3939 phone - (361) 882-1262 fax
e-mail:     website:
webmaster: Carrie Robertson