Thursday, March 30, 2023


Nebraska attorneys develop a workers rights program, the FDA approves over-the-counter sales of the overdose-reversing drug Naloxone, and mayors look for new ways to partner with the federal government.


The Senate repeals authorization of military force in Iraq, the former CEO of Starbucks testifies about the company's worker policies, and Kentucky overrides the governor's veto of gender-affirming care for children.


Small towns respond to a hidden housing and homelessness crisis, a new national weather prediction system will help close the gap between urban and rural forecasting, and more rural communities are eligible for a design project to boost economic development.

Deep Horizon Oil Spill Settlement Funds to Help Restore TX Oyster Reefs


Tuesday, November 9, 2021   

HOUSTON -- Storm damage, pollution and other factors, some related to climate change, are reducing the oyster population, but settlement funds from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill are now available to restore oyster reefs in the Gulf of Mexico.

Experts estimate the Gulf lost between four and eight billion oysters to the massive oil spill, and also saw a loss of reproduction in ensuing years.

Chad Hanson, science officer for The Pew Charitable Trusts, said federal and state officials have earmarked almost $40 million for new or improved reefs to help the shellfish reproduce and thrive.

"The sad news is, oysters have been in massive decline over the past couple decades," Hanson reported. "Something like 80% to 90% of oyster reefs have been lost worldwide, and that's indicative in the Gulf as well."

The oyster work is part of a nearly $100 million payout to also help restore sea turtles, marine mammals and birds, the first in a series of oil-spill recovery plans for the region.

Bill Rodney, coast ecologist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, noted by helping oyster reefs grow bigger and taller, shorelines are better protected from storm surge, rising sea levels and erosion.

"We're doing that in Texas, and it's building on what we've already done, so we don't have to do it all in one project," Rodney explained. "We're sort-of integrating it into what's already out there in the landscape."

Hanson noted most people appreciate oysters on the half shell at their local seafood restaurant, but do not realize the small mollusks filter up to 50 gallons of water a day, improving water quality by removing pollutants, sediment and other particles.

"An oyster creates a reef," Hanson observed. "It's almost like a coral reef in its ecological importance, and that reef creates habitat and that habitat has a bunch of ecosystem services."

In addition to habitat, he added healthy oyster reefs provide food and breeding grounds for fish, which in the Gulf ranges from red drum and spotted sea trout to crabs.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Disclosure: The Pew Charitable Trusts - Environmental Group contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Climate Change/Air Quality, Consumer Issues, Endangered Species and Wildlife, Energy Policy, Environment, Health Issues, Public Lands/Wilderness, and Salmon Recovery. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
The report outlines ways that higher education could be creative and flexible with how schools are using their platforms to reach students. (Adobe stock)

Social Issues

New findings confirm suspicions about the top reasons many students considered dropping out of college over the last six months. The Gallup and …

Social Issues

Two reports confirm a troubling trend in terms of Black students attending college. According to the University System of Georgia, enrollment among …

Health and Wellness

States such as Minnesota continue to grapple with recent spikes in fatal overdoses tied to opioids. Now, a federal agency has taken what aid groups …

The Warrior Way Back program at Wayne State University works with older students who may have families or jobs competing for their study time. (digitalskillet/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Everyone starts college with pretty much the same dream - to earn a degree and have a better life. But sometimes life gets in the way, and dreams get …

Social Issues

Food assistance is integral for families - but it's also important that the food available makes sense culturally. The American Heart Association …

The Castner Range contains cultural sites that document the history of Native tribes, while also providing habitat for wildlife such as the golden eagle, mountain lions and the western burrowing owl. (Dale/AdobeStock)


A celebration will be held in El Paso Friday after five decades of activism paid off, when President Joe Biden designated Texas' Castner Range a …

Social Issues

The Iowa Senate has advanced a bill to outlaw handling a cellphone while driving. The state already has a distracted driving law, but it allows …

Social Issues

With an average hourly wage of under $15 in 2021, many Nebraska agricultural workers would be hard-pressed to afford an attorney if they needed one …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021