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Wildlife Federation partners for environmental restoration effort on Gulf Coast

Limestone for the restoration project is provided by Vulcan Materials Company and will be transported by Cooper Marine.

Alabama Wildlife Federation

The Alabama Wildlife Federation (AWF) today announced that limestone from Vulcan Materials Company’s Pride Quarry in Tuscumbia has departed by barge and is en route to the Mobile Bay to be utilized as oyster cultch – a material laid down to furnish points of attachment for recently settled oysters or “spat” – for an important environmental restoration project on the Gulf Coast. 

“Protecting and conserving the state of Alabama’s beautiful wildlife and outdoors is critically important and we as a state are fortunate to have great partners who recognize this need to ensure future generations enjoy these benefits,” said Tim Gothard, AWF executive director. “This environmental restoration effort is unique because it is funded in its entirety by private dollars. Vulcan Materials Company and Cooper Marine, along with other partners, have joined AWF in providing the funding and the resources to make this project possible, and we are excited to see this material arrive in Mobile Bay in the next two weeks.”

The limestone, provided by Vulcan Materials Company, will be transported by Cooper Marine, and will travel down the Tennessee River to the Tombigbee River into Mobile Bay.

This environmental restoration project will be used to reinvigorate oyster reefs at Cedar Point Beach. The Cedar Point Beach Oyster Restoration Project is 77-acres of water bottom located just west of Dauphin Island Parkway in Heron Bay. The site is a historic oyster reef area next to some of the most productive oyster reefs in Alabama waters. A successful project presents the opportunity to restore a large oyster reef footprint that can yield sustainable harvest of oysters for human consumption, continued management of the oyster reef for longer term productivity, and improved water quality through the filtering capacity of a larger and robust oyster population. A significant amount of limestone cultch material is needed to produce higher, more resilient oyster densities.

For this effort, Vulcan Materials Company donated sixty-five hundred tons of limestone cultch material; Cooper Marine provided more than $150,000 for transportation; AWF donated $100,000 for the deployment of the oyster cultch, and the Coastal Land Trust, Jernigan Foundation, J.L. Bedsole Foundation and PowerSouth all donated equal amounts to match AWF dollar for dollar on the deployment of the cultch.

“Our participation in this project echoes our commitment to Alabama’s natural resources and environmental upkeep,” said, Angus Cooper, III, President of the Cooper Group. “We are proud to be a part of the partnership with Vulcan Materials Company, AWF and others in this restoration effort on the Gulf Coast.”

Highlighting the journey:

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As this material makes its way from far Northwest Alabama down Alabama’s river systems to the Gulf Coast, AWF will be giving continuous updates via social media and through media outreach to keep the public up to date on the status of the oyster cultch’s journey down river. Each day, AWF will post a graphic on its Facebook page of a map that will track the oyster cultch’s progress. You can access AWF’s Facebook page here.

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Chris Blankenship said of this project:

“Oysters have been a part of Alabama’s culture for over a thousand years from both an ecological and economic standpoint. Not only are they delicious, they critically improve water quality, provide habitat for fish and crabs, and protect coastal shoreline in Alabama’s Mobile Bay and Mississippi Sound. But with continuously declining oyster populations since the 1950s, for a variety of reasons, it is imperative that we step up and make investments into the reefs oysters need to thrive so that oyster populations in Alabama waters can continue to be successful. This project, which is fully funded through private dollars, will play a critical role in doing just that and is an integral piece to our comprehensive oyster restoration strategy. “

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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