Community Olympia Oyster Restoration in the Jack Dunster Marine Reserve

Location: Los Angeles County

Project Type: Restoration

Status: Current

Habitat Type: estuarine, Oyster Bed

Cost: 44,800

Area Affected: 2.4 acres

Assembly District: 50

Senate District: 27

Congressional District: 33

Project Lead/Grantee:
Orange County Coastkeeper (Katie Nichols; katie@coastkeeper.org)

In June 2012, Orange County Coastkeeper (OCC), in partnership with California State University Fullerton (CSUF), California State University Long Beach (CSULB), and KZO Education, restored Olympia oyster habitat at the Jack Dunster Marine Reserve (JDMR) in Alamitos Bay. Teams of researchers, students, and community volunteers laid a new oyster bed using “dead” Pacific oyster shell to facilitate future settlement of baby Olympia oysters (Ostrea lurida) or oyster spat. Over the next two years, they recorded significant increases in oyster settlement, survival, and growth. The proposed project enabled Orange County Coastkeeper to expand that native oyster bed via community-based restoration. First, in collaboration with Dr. Danielle Zacherl from Cal State Fullerton, a community workshop was held to build shell strings with homeowners and school groups to suspend strings of dead oyster shell from floating docks throughout Alamitos Bay during the Olympia oyster’s reproductive season, and allow locally produced oyster larvae to recruit to the shells. After a grow-out period of about 30-45 days, the shells from the shell strings were concentrated into a 20 meter by 1.5 meter “community” oyster bed at the JDMR adding to the previously constructed oyster bed. OCC also conducted significant K-12 outreach activities including in-class presentations and field trips to JDMR.