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Improved Red Drum Habitat through Community-based Oyster Reef Habitat Restoration

Little has been attempted to improve the habitat to ensure survival of stocked red drum fingerlings in SC waters This project will create additional oyster reefs in stocking areas. The impact will be many fold as other organisms will utilize the habitat and oyster population and water quality improvements will be recognized. Patches of hard substrate and 3-D reefs will be created in stocking areas, thus establishing quality habitat for red drum at this early life stage.

The importance to the Resource:

Oyster beds serve unique roles in the estuarine environment, yet they are highly susceptible to over harvesting and pollution. Having both recreational and commercial value, continued oyster bed restoration efforts along the South Carolina Coast are needed to protect the species and realize its benefits to water quality and other aquatic specimens.

The problem:

Overharvesting and pollution have reduced oyster populations. Insufficient substrate for successful spawning and recruitment has also slowed the rebounding of populations. By providing spawning substrate and taking advantage of newly created habitat, oyster populations can flourish and provide improved water quality and recreational opportunities.

The objective:

Oyster reefs were created to improve habitat for red drum and other aquatic species in the North Edisto River. The benefits of improving oyster populations include improved water quality, additional recreational opportunities, and a sustainable population.

The method:

Oyster spat was collected from bags of shell hung from cooperating pier owners and placed post colonization onto reef footprints.Other techniques such as using ghost crab traps (collected via trap salvage effort) and 3-D culture techniques were used. Genetic analysis was to confirm relative impact to red drum survival post-stocking.



Community based oyster reef restoration

South Carolina
Conservation Delivery, Outcome-based Monitoring
Aquatic Resources
Bivalves, Fish

Associated Locations

Town zip code county state congressional dist


Name of barrier Latitude Longitude FONS ID FIS Project ID FWS Acc. #

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