CCA North Carolina earns West Marine grant for habitat
In honor of World Oceans Day, West Marine announced the recipients of their annual Marine Conservation Grants program. Grants for a total amount of $30,000 are being awarded to non-profit organizations throughout the U.S. who are working to “improve and protect marine habitat,” which is part of West Marine’s mission.
A grant of $4,500 went to CCA NC for its work with PenderWatch to build 12 oyster reefs to stabilize an important but badly eroding island near Hampstead, North Carolina. The site is currently closed due to pollution from storm water runoff.
Armed with the grant from West Marine, 40 volunteers from PenderWatch & Conservancy, CCA NC and the School of Marine Sciences of the University of North Carolina - Wilmington in June built 198 feet of oyster reefs using 930 mesh bags of oyster shells that PenderWatch collected at its six shell drop-off/collection sites in Pender County over the past two years.
The five reefs that were built are the first of 12 reefs that PenderWatch has permission to build under its CAMA Major Permit. The groups plan to build a total of seven reefs before November. The grant awarded to CCA NC will fund the entire project by PenderWatch.
“We at CCA NC were extremely impressed with PenderWatch’s ability to attract the many volunteers who came out Saturday to help build the reefs,” said Stephen Ammons, executive director of CCA NC. “Helping refurbish habitat by creating oyster reefs is one of the many aspects anglers can help with in restoring and protecting North Carolina’s marine resources.”
"We expect large numbers of oyster spat to recruit to the reef within the next few weeks. Those spat will reach maturity in three years and new spat will continuously attach to the shells in the reef over the next few years,” said supervising marine biologist Pat Donovan-Potts of PenderWatch. “Each adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water every 24 hours so we are providing habitat and improving water quality at the same time."