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U.S. Military is Using Oyster Reefs as Living ‘Speed Bumps’ to Protect Naval Bases Against Storms

January 04, 2018 |

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (April 28, 2010) Sailors assigned to Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 2, dump oyster shells into the mud flats of Little Creek Cove to establish two new artificial oyster reefs. The oysters are the naturally occurring Eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, which can filter 50 gallons of water individually each day. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Scott Pittman/Released)

This article was originally published on The Daily Mail

  • Around the U.S. and the world, oyster reefs being planted as storm-protection
  • ‘Living shorelines’ of oyster reefs are better and cheaper than other methods
  • Experts say the oyster reefs help blunt the force of incoming storm waves

“Earle Naval Weapons Station, where the Navy loads some of America’s most sophisticated weapons onto warships, suffered $50 million worth of damage in Superstorm Sandy.  Now the naval pier is fortifying itself with some decidedly low-tech protection: oysters. The facility has allowed an environmental group to plant nearly a mile of oyster reefs about a quarter-mile off its shoreline to serve as a natural buffer to storm-driven wave damage.

Other military bases are enlisting the help of oysters, too.  In June, environmental groups and airmen established a reef in the waters of Elgin Air Force Base Reservation in Florida, and more are planned nearby.  Oysters also help protect Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia. Three oyster reefs protect the USS Laffey museum in South Carolina.  And military installations in Alabama and North Carolina have dispatched their enlisted personnel to help build oyster reefs in off-base coastal sites.

They are among hundreds of places around the U.S. and the world where oyster reefs are being planted primarily as storm-protection measures.  And a bill just introduced in Congress would give coastal communities $100 million over the next five years to create ‘living shorelines’ that include oyster reefs. ‘Having a hardened structure like that oyster reef will absorb some of that wave energy,’ said Earle spokesman Bill Addison. All the pipes and cables that are on the pier now, all of that was washed away and had to be rebuilt…”

Read on at: The Daily Mail.

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