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From the Southern Mississippi Sun Herald

Project adds oyster reefs
Now it's up to the oysters

BAY ST. LOUIS - May 13, 2021 - The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources has completed construction on an oyster bed in St. Louis Bay near Mallini Bayou, to demonstrate the oyster's ability to improve water quality through its food-gathering filtration, and create essential fish habitat.

About 900 cubic yards of oyster shells were planted and about 50 cubic yards of live oysters transferred to the site to spawn and create oyster larvae that will settle and grow the reef.

The joint research project was funded through a grant from the Gulf of Mexico Foundation. A similar project was funded in Biloxi's Back Bay by the Fish America Foundation for the "creation of oyster reefs to improve coastal water quality and critical fish habitat."

The DMR partnered with six organizations on the grants including: Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, Coastal Conservation Association, Mississippi Gulf Fishing Banks, University of Southern Mississippi's J.L. Scott Aquarium, The Nature Conservancy and the Office of Congressman Gene Taylor.

The project is funded in part through the Gulf of Mexico Community-Based Habitat Restoration Program, the Gulf Ecological Management Sites Program and the NOAA Community-Based Restoration Program.

Also included in the research project was the construction of a reef in Biloxi's Back Bay west of the train bridge near the mouth of Fort Bayou. Each reef was located in waters closed to oyster harvesting and will provide a beneficial sanctuary for adult oysters.

The DMR will monitor the reefs using side-scan sonar, square meter diving and hook and line surveys.

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