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Creation of Oyster Beds on Carolina Coast

August 25, 2010

OCRACOKE, N.C. - This summer, oyster bed implantation is creating a virtual treasure chest of pearls for the environment and job creation on the North Carolina coast. More than 155 fisherman, coastal scientists and private contractors will wrap up one of the largest oyster bed projects in the state's history this week, thanks to $5 million in federal stimulus money.

Scientist Erin Fleckenstein, with the North Carolina Coastal Federation, explains why this summer was so successful.

"This was the first time we got a private industry involved in the restoration work, and they were really able to accelerate the rate at which we could build these oyster sanctuaries."

She says this federal money paid for the contractors to work 24 hours a day to build 48 acres of oyster sanctuary in Pamlico Sound.

"Having the shot to the arm of extra money coming in from the stimulus fund allowed us to even consider hiring outside contractors and using their equipment."

In addition to being fisheries, oyster beds create an environment for fish as well as improve water quality. One oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day. The project also helped local fisherman, who were paid to distribute 3,000 bushels of oysters off the coast of Ocracoke.


Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC