Lynnhaven River NOW (LRNow) will be constructing a new one and a half acre sanctuary oyster reef in the Eastern Branch of the Lynnhaven next spring, and it was made possible in part through a partnership with Virginia Beach City Public Schools.
LRNow will be creating the first alternative-substrate oyster reef in the Lynnhaven River. The reef will be built using crushed concrete repurposed when buildings, bridges, sidewalks and curbs are demolished in the City.
The first batch of concrete was donated to the reef project when the Old Donation Center (ODC) was demolished in 2014. Donation of this concrete was motivated by third-grade students at ODC, who had been studying oysters and researching alternative materials for reef restoration.
Tim Cole, Sustainability Officer with VBCPS, contacted LRNow and helped to make their idea a reality. Over the next year, LRNow will continue to gather clean concrete for the reef.
The reef will provide critical ecosystem functions such as habitat provision, water filtration, nutrient removal, and shoreline protection in the river. Reef construction projects such as this have been limited in Virginia for the last several years because we have had a shortage of oyster shells that were previously necessary for reef construction.