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Oyster Restoration Creates Jobs, Protects Coasts in the Gulf
Since 2009, more than 200 jobs have been supported by our two Recovery Act-funded oyster restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico. According to our partner, The Nature Conservancy, the projects have also restored five acres of oyster reefs. These reefs will protect more than 350 acres of marsh from erosion and storms—a crucial service in the Gulf of Mexico.
NOAA invested $7.1 million of Recovery Act funding in these projects. With 227 jobs supported, that works out to 32 jobs per $1 million invested. This is more than the average number of jobs supported by other industries, including transportation and oil and natural gas. The projects supported jobs in a variety of fields, from mechanics to steel manufacturers, to local fishermen and mesh shell bag producers.
A survey conducted by the University of South Alabama found that Alabama coastal residents strongly support oyster reef restoration and protection. They recognize that reef health has been declining for more than 25 years and that both ecological and economic benefits are important reasons to protect and restore oyster reefs.
Due in part to the support of community residents, similar designs are now being deployed in other locations in Mobile Bay. In fact, this effort inspired the “100-1000: Restore Coastal Alabama Project,” a coalition working to build 100 miles of oyster reefs and promote the growth of 1,000 acres of seagrass in Alabama.
Posted May 9, 2012