Daufuskie Island’s First Oyster Reef Build
Coordinated by Jenny Hersch, it will take place on April 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
In the spring when coastal water temperatures rise, spawning begins. Fertilization occurs in the open water where the free-floating oyster larvae, which look like specks of black pepper, soon develop a shell and feed on algae, as they drift with the currents and ride the tides. If they are lucky enough not to become fish food by the third week, they attach themselves to a hard surface — preferably other oysters where they make their home. This bonding with other oysters is how reefs are formed. Once attached, oysters cannot relocate. There the oysters grow in place until their life cycle is interrupted – often by predators including crabs, carnivorous snails, sea stars, fish and sting rays.
To build an oyster reef, there must be an opportunity for the oyster larvae to bond with other oysters. Clean oyster shells are provided for this purpose. Because oyster shell is in short support, Daufuskie’s Oyster Reef volunteers will plant clean shell (i.e., no trash) provided by the Bluffton Oyster Factory in their build. Even this newly planted shell will attract oyster larvae. As juvenile oysters cement to the shell in the summer months, a reef will eventually be formed. A fully functional reef requires 3+ years to develop.
Daufuskie’s First Oyster Reef Build, being coordinated by Jenny Hersch, will take place on April 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Here is the schedule:
10:45am - Meet at the Haig Point dock for boat ride to Bluffton to load bagged shell
12:00pm - At the dock in Bluffton we will form a "bucket brigade" to load mesh bags full of oyster shells onto a SC DNR boat then return by our boat to the Haig Point dock.
1:45pm - Meet at the Haig Point dock to build Oyster Reef - unload the bagged shell onto the shore between the Haig Point main dock and the community dock with the help of staff from the SC Department of Natural Resources.
Please wear close-toed shoes or boots that can get wet, long sleeves (oyster shells are sharp and may be sticking out of the mesh bags), long pants are preferred.
Leather work gloves or gardening gloves are ideal if you have them - some will be provided.
Bug spray, a hat and sunglasses may come in handy.
Water and snacks will be provided.
Projects like Daufuskie’s Oyster Reef Build will restore oyster populations while enhancing habitat for fish, shrimp, and crabs, and improving water quality of the island’s estuarine areas.
Oyster reefs keep erosion at bay, improve water quality (a single oyster can filter as much as 50 gallons per day) and provide food and habitat for a diversity of plants and animals.
Thank you for volunteering for Daufuskie's first reef build!
Please contact Jenny Hersch to volunteer:
413-717-2167 / firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the project: