MRD Staff Bag 10 Tons of Oyster Shell with CRCL’s Oyster Shell Recycling Program
By Deborah Abibou, Restoration Programs Director Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana
On March 4th, 20 Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition staff members rolled up their sleeves and volunteered for the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana’s Oyster Shell Recycling Program. In doing so, they accomplished three of their favorite things: taking action to restore the coast, spending time breathing in the fresh coastal air and hanging out with other folks who share a passion for Louisiana’s coast.
MRD Staffers volunteer with CRCL’s Oyster Shell Recycling Program.
CRCL’s Oyster Shell Recycling Program has just been awarded the 2016 Conservation Achievement Award from Louisiana Wildlife Federation. This award recognizes CRCL’s efforts to return harvested oyster shell to Louisiana’s waters for coastal restoration projects. Since its inception in June 2014, the program has become the largest of its kind in the nation!
In Buras, a small town located along the Mississippi River south of New Orleans in Plaquemines Parish, staff witnessed the piles and piles of oyster shell that CRCL has collected from 26 partner restaurants. Thanks to a generous $1 million grant from Shell, the program has been able to collect more than 1,750 tons of shell.
Jessie Ritter, National Wildlife Federation. Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society. Jackson Rollings, CRCL.
CRCL’s Restore the Mississippi River Delta partners bagged an incredible 10 tons of oyster shell! These bags will be stacked into wire construction baskets, which will be the building blocks of CRCL’s first shoreline protection project to be placed in Louisiana’s Biloxi Marsh. This half-mile structure will provide a hard substrate to jumpstart the formation of a living oyster reef. The main purpose of CRCL’s oyster reef project is to prevent the marsh from eroding by creating a wave break and allowing land to build up behind it. This will help us hold onto one more piece of our coast.
Oyster reefs are like the Swiss army knife of coastal restoration – they filter water, provide habitat for fish and other wildlife, contribute spat to oyster leases and act as wave breaks.
For more information about the program and to sign up to volunteer, visit CRCL.org.
Check out some more pictures from the MRD staff volunteer day:
Steve Cochran, Campaign Director; Cathleen Berthelot, Campaign Manager; and Brooke Randolph, Office Manager cut and tie bags to be filled with shell.
Staff bagging some of the 1,750 tons of oyster shell reclaimed by CRCL.
Samantha Carter, Senior Outreach Coordinator, National Wildlife Federation.
Completed bags of oysters along the Buras Harbor.
Deborah Visco Abibou is the Restoration Programs Director for the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL). She leads CRCL’s Volunteer Habitat Restoration Program and Oyster Shell Recycling Program. She joined CRCL in 2015 and is a broadly trained ecologist. She earned a PhD from Tulane University in 2015 and her B.S. in Environmental Biology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in 2006. She gained ecology and conservation experience in New York, Dominica (West Indies), Australia, California and New Hampshire before beginning her graduate studies in New Orleans. She has managed multiple projects, secured funding, directed field crews, authored papers and taught science at all levels. Previously, she served as Lead Bird Bander and Programming Director with the Woodlands Conservancy in Belle Chasse.