Oyster populations in the United States and other parts of the world have declined an estimated 85% over the past 100 years. The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration estimates the Chesapeake Bay area population is less than 5% of what it used to be. With this decline, natural reef cultch (shell) has disappeared along with many of the estuarine banks they protected for years.
In 2007, Virginia based Allied Concrete Company partnered with The Nature Conservancy / Virginia Coastal Reserve & The Nature Conservancy / South Carolina chapter to focus on finding a solution to this problem. Through tedious research, study, and lots of trial and error, the Oyster Castle® was born. The Oyster Castle® is an easily deployed, specialized manufactured concrete unit using an environmentally friendly, certified blend of proprietary material conducive to attracting and fostering oyster settlement, attachment, and growth.
Conservation groups and agencies who have participated in projects using these Oyster Castles® include: The Nature Conservancies of multiple states, The US Army Corps of Engineers, The Massachusetts Audubon, Aerostar Environmental, The Coastal Conservation Association, National Estuarine Research Reserve System Science Collaborative, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, and many others. The NOAA is a funding party to many of the successful deployments to date.
With design expertise and guidance from all partners, the Oyster Castle®, which proudly boasts a 100% success rate, is leading the fight to return inter-tidal oyster reefs and oyster populations back to the acceptable and healthy levels of the past. Shoreline remediation and salt marsh preservation are also welcome by-products of this restorative process.