Surveying in Mobile, AL Paves the Way for the Future of Oyster Reefs

November 16, 2016 2:44 am Published by Leave your thoughts

In November 2013, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources – Marine Resources Division declared an initiative designed to help restore the oyster population along the Alabama coastline. More than $3.75M was set aside of the initiative, which set an aggressive goal of 30 percent regrowth in working to help rejuvenate the decimated oyster population of the region.

More than 600 acres of shoreline across Mobile Bay, Mississippi Sound, Bon Secour Bay and other estuaries with access to the Gulf of Mexico were targeted for rejuvenation. In total, over the past three years, more than 50,000 cubic yards of new clutch material has been planted to help foster new oyster growth. According to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources – Marine Resources Division, this reclamation project has been the largest effort to restore a single species of fauna post-Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Measuring success

What has made this undertaking a budding success is more than just the efforts of everyone planting clutch material and disseminating seed oysters—it also has a lot to do with the marine and shoreline surveying in Mobile, AL. Companies like Polysurveying & Engineering have been instrumental in targeting optimal areas of regrowth and coordinating an approach to cultivating these areas!

Polysurveying & Engineering has provided key mapping for Auburn University, along with a number of additional private clients, for mapping of future oyster reefs along the Gulf of Mexico, Weeks Bay and Mobile Bay. In working to identify prime foster locations, areas impacted by sedimentation and areas of natural encampment of oysters, our team has lent a strong hand to the restoration of Alabama’s oyster population, both now and for the future!

Because of our surveying in Mobile, AL and the surrounding areas, clients have been able to properly pull permits for oyster bedding, while also ensuring any manmade developments are kept from designated areas of repopulation.

The importance of oysters

Oysters are a key piece of the ecological network of the Gulf of Mexico and a core member of the marine ecosystem. Oysters help to keep the seafood industry strong by playing their part in the food chain, while acting to foster ecological development on a microscopic scale via their biological processes.

Oysters are primarily filter feeders, helping to improve water quality by extracting and digesting microbes that may cause contamination. Moreover, when they settle in colonies, oysters also provide harborage for smaller mollusks and fish, allowing them to thrive in an environment that’s protective against overfeeding by predators. These two key roles make the restoration of oyster beds especially important for tributaries into the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf at large.

Sustainable efforts

With companies like Polysurveying & Engineering and organizations like Auburn University working in tandem to map the future of oyster regrowth, it’s possible that, in just a few short generations, oysters will return to a healthy rate of survival in the Gulf of Mexico area. It’s just one of the ways we’re helping to undo some of the mistakes of the past for a brighter, more sustainable future—one that respects the environment and development equally.

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