Diners have consumed enough oysters in New Orleans, Louisiana this year that tons of recycled shells from the seafood delicacy will help build a half-mile oyster reef south of the city this fall.
The shell recycling program, which started last year, is offered free to restaurants in the New Orleans area thanks to a $1 million donation from Shell Oil Co. The money is enough to cover another 18 months of collecting shells.
As the oyster collection continues, the coalition and the Nature Conservancy are working on the design of the oyster reef and planning how to get volunteers involved in the construction later this year.
“It’s just a way for the community to get engaged in the restoration process,” said Hilary Collis, the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana‘s restoration program director.