Hurricane Katrina Forest Recovery

As we work together to tackle the historic challenge that Hurricane Katrina has presented to the forestry communities of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, we hope that this blog will be a valuable resource and tool.

Monday, May 22

Department of Marine Resources to Begin Reef Restoration

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (DMR) is preparing to begin restoration efforts on oyster reefs damaged by Hurricane Katrina by distributing approximately 5,000 cubic yards of cultch material (oyster shells) in the Henderson Point Square Handkerchief area approximately 1.5 miles south of Pass Christian. Katrina damaged approximately 90%-95% of Mississippi's 12,000 acres of oyster beds.

"We are proud that Mississippi is the first 'Katrina state' to begin cultch planting operations that will help to restore our public oyster reefs and begin the process of bringing our oyster industry back to its former production," said DMR executive director William Walker.

Eventually, the DMR hopes to build most of the beds with oyster shells and the broken concrete from structures destroyed by Katrina scattered across the Coast. The concrete would be crushed and spread across the bottom of the Mississippi Sound to create new oyster beds.
Cultch plants consist of spreading oyster shell or crushed concrete rubble over the water bottom using high-pressure hoses, giving oyster larvae a clean surface on which to attach and grow.

These plants are intended to enhance oyster productivity and increase fishing opportunities in South Mississippi through the continued development of existing reefs and the creation of additional new reefs.


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