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176 Concord Street, P.O. Box 22287, Charleston, SC 29413-2287
Contact: Erin Dhand, Manager, Corporate Communications and Community Affairs
Telephone: 843-577-8121 • Fax: 843-577-8127 • e-mail: EDhand@scspa.com


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
6/10/2009

SC Ports, SCDNR Partner to Restore Area Oyster Habitat

Charleston, SC - Oyster roast season in the Lowcountry may be over, but the thousands of bushels of oyster shells collected from these parties are making a positive environmental impact along our local waterways.

Thousands of bushels of shells collected during oyster season are recycled throughout Charleston's tideline, thanks to the efforts of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) in partnership with the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA).

In support of the port community's Pledge for Growth environmental initiative, a team of 20 port employees was recruited to help plant recycled oyster shells in Hobcaw Creek. This effort is part of a $1-million oyster reef restoration project funded by the SCSPA that is currently underway.

The goal of the program is to restore and enhance oyster habitat by planting recycled oyster shells in the intertidal environment to form new, self-sustaining oyster reefs. This will improve water quality, control erosion and protect and substantially increase the productivity of estuarine species.

According to SCDNR, community volunteers have planted a little over a half-acre this season, with approximately 2.4 acres left to plant before fall. Prior to planting, oysters are stockpiled at the SCSPA's Veterans Terminal on the former Navy Base and loaded onto barges to be transported to the selected planting sites.

During the permitting process for the new, 280-acre container terminal at the former Navy Base, the SCSPA pledged more than $12-million for various environmental and community projects in the Charleston metro region. Through coordination with SCDNR and the South Carolina Oyster Restoration and Enhancement Program (SCORE), the SCSPA is funding a five-year, $1-million oyster reef restoration project. The project to plant eight acres throughout Charleston Harbor is now in its second year.

During last year's SCSPA-funded planting season, which ran from June through September, community volunteers planted 22,714 bushels of shell over more than two acres of intertidal area.

For more information on the SCSPA's commitment to the community and to the environment, visit www.pledgeforgrowth.com.