Seafood lovers, rejoice. The Alabama Wildlife Federation (AWF) took on a huge project to restore 77 acres of oyster reefs off the Mobile Bay, reinvigorating Alabama’s declining oyster industry. Here’s what you need to know about the AWF Cedar Point Beach Oyster Restoration Project.
The AWF oyster restoration project was a group effort
On Wednesday, August 23, a group stood on the edge of Heron Bay’s Cedar Point Beach, watching the arrival of a huge ship loaded with limestone. The ship’s long journey started in Tuscumbia and made its way through three rivers before reaching its destination on the Gulf Coast.
The arrival marked the finality of a huge Alabama Wildlife Federation project that started in early 2022 with the AWF Oyster Restoration Fund.
This privately-funded effort was supported by several local businesses and nonprofits. Vulcan Materials Co. donated 6,500 tons of limestone cultch, and Cooper Marine provided transportation from Tuscumbia to the Gulf Coast.
Donations from AWF and matching contributions from Coastal Land Trust, the Jernigan Foundation, the J.L. Bedsole Foundation and PowerSouth made the project come to life.
“It was a very significant partnership to have this 100% privately funded and for it to be a private investment in improving outer habitat on public water bottoms.”Tim Gothard, Executive Director, Alabama Wildlife Federation
How this project will help Alabama’s oyster industry
So how does all this limestone affect the oyster industry in Alabama? In short, it provides more habitat area for oysters to thrive on the Gulf Coast.
In a newsletter to the Mobile community, Mayor Sandy Stimpson explained how the industry has been struggling, affecting both those who catch and eat oysters.
“The struggles that Alabama’s oyster industry has faced over the last 10 to 15 years have been reflected in the prices you see at local restaurants and stores. It has also significantly impacted the local industry and oystermen that have harvested the waters of south Mobile County for generations.”Mayor Sandy Stimpson
AWF’s Oyster Restoration project will revitalize 77 acres of oyster reefs, stimulating the Alabama oyster industry and bringing more delicious oysters to the table.
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