Delaware Reef Project Seeks Clean Water And Oyster Population Gr - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Reef Project Seeks Clean Water And Oyster Population Growth

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700 bags of oyster shells are being prepared for September's construction of two oyster reefs in the Rehoboth Bay. This will mirror the one that was built in July in the Assawoman Bay. The shells are collected on a regular basis from over 20 restaurants stretching from Lewes to Fenwick Island participating in the Don't Chuck Your Shucks recycling program sponsored by the Delaware Center For The Inland Bays.
 
It is the start of a three year project to help clean the waters and grow an oyster population that is near extinct in the inland bays of southern Delaware. Phosphorous and nitrogen in the Assawoman, Rehoboth, and Indian River bays continues to be a large contributor to the dwindling population. Planted in the new reefs are a new breed of oyster, immune to those chemicals. "One oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day," Dr. Marianne Walch of the Center explained. "If we have larger populations of them we will be removing a lot of sediment and a lot of pollutants from the water."
 
The Center received $75,000 from the state government and a matching fund from the Delaware Sea Grant.  In the years following the reef construction and oyster planting, the Center hopes to learn which areas of the bays are best suited for growing the oyster population. 
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