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Recipe for restoration: Oyster gardeners grow shellfish population

By: Melissa Schneider / Published: Nov 18,  2010

The Mobile Bay Oyster Gardening Program brought another season to a close Nov. 8-9 as program organizers and student volunteers collected oysters from gardens throughout Baldwin and Mobile counties.

They took the oysters to reefs in Mobile Bay, where they will help purify the water, create habitat for marine life and spawn more oysters next spring.

Sixty-two Mobile Bay Oyster Gardeners had been growing the oysters in gardens off their wharves since early July. They raised and cared for 17,500 adult oysters that were added to the restoration reefs.

“We were pleased to have 62 gardeners and look forward to adding to that number for the 2011 season,” said PJ Waters, an extension specialist with Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. “Gardeners, adopters and program sponsors play critical roles in the success of the oyster gardening program. Following the events of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, those efforts are more important than ever.”

Alma Bryant High School students Alan Vo, Dustin McGallagher, Alden Bosarge, Cameron Perry and Joseph Perrine and instructor Lynn Stewart helped collect and plant the oysters.

The Mobile Bay Oyster Gardening Program is sponsored by the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, The Sybil H. Smith Charitable Trust, the Organized Seafood Association of Alabama and Wintzell’s Oyster House in cooperation with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium.

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