Hope on the Half-Shell

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Published on January 19th, 2011  |  Discuss This Article  

An open invitation for people looking for an opportunity to take direct action to restore the Gulf of Mexico. Join the Conservancy and our partners this weekend (January 22 & 23, 2011) at Helen Wood Park near Mobile, Alabama as we lay the first quarter-mile of oyster reefs in the 100-1000: Restore Coastal Alabama project.

For more information and to register online, please visit: http://www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/gulfofmexico/events/events6640.html

Cindy Brown, director of the Conservancy’s Gulf of Mexico program, will be there – muddy, wet and happy. Want to know why? Read on:

Over the last six months or so, I’ve given countless interviews, speeches and presentations about the Gulf of Mexico and one of the questions I get most often is: Can the Gulf really be restored? How do you know?

The answer is yes, and I know because I already see it happening. In the Gulf of Mexico, I see hope in this handful of oyster shells.

They don’t look like much, but those little brown circles clinging to that shell are baby oysters. The remarkable thing? The reef where Conservancy scientist Jeff DeQuattro found them was restored less than two months ago. It has already become an anchor for the life of the Gulf. These baby oysters are proof that the Gulf can renew itself. You are looking – literally – at the future of the Gulf of Mexico.

You are looking at proof that the Gulf of Mexico is not a lost cause. And restoring the natural infrastructure of the Gulf – like this oyster reef, as well as seagrass beds, marshes, coastal lands and forests – are some of the most important things we can do to help the Gulf renew itself.

Oyster reefs, in their way, are the building blocks of the Gulf. This weekend, I’m looking forward to being part of that on-the-ground action – moving 26,000 bags of oyster shells to create a living shoreline that will be an anchor for life and renewal not only in Mobile Bay, but across the Gulf of Mexico. Come join us and be part of the restoration.

See you there!

For more information and to register online, please visit: http://www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/gulfofmexico/events/events6640.html

(First Image: Cindy Brown, a Program Manager for The Nature Conservancy’s Louisiana chapter, at Lake Ponchartrain. Image Credit: Erika Nortemann/© 2009 The Nature Conservancy. Second Image: Jeff DeQuattro, Marine Program Director for the Nature Conservancy in Alabama examines young oysters growing on artificial reefs at Helen Wood Park near Dauphin Island, Alabama. Image Credit: © Andrew Kornylak)

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