Texas A&M to help restore oyster habitats after Hurricane Harvey

It's been six months since Hurricane Harvey devastated the Texas coast. According to the National Hurricane center, the storm caused $125 billion dollars in damage.

Last week Governor Greg Abbott encouraged coastal communities to apply for the 1-billion dollars in federal aid set aside to help prevent or lessen damage from future storms.

Recovery efforts to restore Texas' bay systems are also underway. Since Harvey’s rain water flooded the bay's with fresh water killing oysters, the Texas Department of Wildlife Services has since placed regulations on commercial oyster fishing.

Texas A&M Corpus Christi students and faculty are stepping up by collecting oyster shells from communities across the state to replant oyster’s habitats. Natasha Beaux with the oyster recycling program Sink Your Shucks said they have been recycling oysters for years. The replanting helps baby oysters attach themselves to the bed of adult oyster shells.

"Ecologically the oysters are there and they create habitat they filter the water they improve fishing so beyond selling oysters they are important in general," Beaux said.

Austin's Annual Oyster Festival serves more than 22,000. Christopher Bauer who helps manage the festival said they were able to secure oysters from private leased land but other wholesalers were left looking to other states to meet the demand.

"It was a mess it was supposed to be the best oyster year in 20 years and the hurricanes kind of messed it all up we just kind of hope it doesn't happen again so we can get back on track," said Bauer.

The Texas A&M group will be replanting the thousands of oyster shells from this event and others in April.

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