Environmentalists put millions of oysters in Lafayette River

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — For the next week and a half, environmentalists will put millions of baby oysters in the Lafayette River in Norfolk.

The project is in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, NOAA, the state of Virginia, Elizabeth River Project, Restore America’s Estuaries and a few other organizations.

Oysters act as filters in the water, making it clean. But the over-harvesting of oysters, reef destruction and oyster disease has cut down on number of oysters in our area, and thus the cleanliness of the water.

So the project’s goal is to help regrow the region’s oyster population.

“The oyster population is lower than compared to several hundred years ago,” said a Chesapeake Bay Foundation restoration scientist. “In the Lafayette River, we are habitat limited, and the spawning oysters don’t have enough places for the babies to land and grow, so we’re increasing the number of habitats with oyster shells, with reef balls to help jump start the population to higher, more robust numbers.”

10 On Your Side stopped by Thursday afternoon to get a first-hand look at what the environmentalists are doing. The CBF put native oysters attached to old oyster shells on Knitting Mill Creek reef. Next month they plan to return and put 100 more concrete reef balls along the shoreline.

Earlier this week, WAVY.com told you about a new initiative by the governor’s office to make Virginia the top oyster state on the East Coast.

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