Oyster Reef Balls Placed in Lafayette River

Jun 26, 2013

Reef Balls used for seeding oysters
Credit cbf.org

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has lowered 25 concrete oyster reef balls into the Lafayette River in Norfolk.

Oyster harvesting has been banned on the Lafayette since the 1920s because of contamination from industries and storm water runoff. The work Tuesday is part of an initiative to restore the Lafayette to health.

Reef balls are dome-shaped concrete structures that provide a surface on which swimming oyster larvae can attach. Balls are seeded with live baby oysters called "spat." They also provide the benefit of shoreline stabilization.

The foundation plans to place 104 reef balls in the river near the Virginia Zoo, a partner in the project.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Restore America's Estuaries and the Norfolk Rotary Club have provided funding. The Virginia Marine Resources Commission built the reefs.