OCEAN — The North Carolina Coastal Federation launched the new “Adopt an Oyster” program this month to support its 2017 oyster restoration projects.
Participants can adopt oysters for $5 each or $40 for a dozen. They may opt to receive updates about their adopted oyster by text or email. Throughout the federation’s restoration season, the donor will receive four updates about the oyster’s experience, from the recycled shell to a young adult beginning to filter water.
The program is designed to connect donors to the oyster restoration process using current technology and scientific facts. With younger, first-time donors in mind, the adoption process is quick and accessible.
“Every oyster makes a difference,” said Kelly Bodie, membership director for the federation and program coordinator. “We want donors to recognize they can improve the future of oysters in North Carolina while having fun, too.”
When oyster shells are put back in the water, they attract spat — or juvenile oysters — which attach to the surface and eventually grow to full size. The federation works with volunteers and other partners to restore oysters in North Carolina’s sounds, providing habitat for other oysters, crabs and fish.
For the next three years, all oyster adoptions will support the 50 Million Oyster Initiative. By 2020, the federation and its partners will create 50 new acres of oyster sanctuary throughout North Carolina’s waters, starting with 15 acres of oyster sanctuary in Pamlico Sound this year.
With each acre supporting approximately one million oysters, this will result in 50 million oysters supporting many different species of fish and wildlife. And with each oyster capable of filtering 50 gallons of water per day, those 50 million oysters will filter 2.5 billion gallons of water — every single day.
More information on the 50 Million Oyster Initiative and the Adopt an Oyster program is available at nccoast.org/oysters.