GBF milestone: 850 tons of recycled oyster shells

Galveston Bay has lost a significant amount of oyster reef over many years due to a combination of natural and man-made forces. To help restore the Bay’s oyster population, keep our water clean, and provide habitat for aquatic life, Galveston Bay Foundation’s Oyster Shell Recycling Program collects shucked oyster shells from local restaurants and returns them to the Bay where they will form the base for new oyster reefs. The program, which began in 2011, recently reached an exciting milestone: 850 tons of oyster shells recycled.

“Instead of ending up in a landfill, the shells we recycle from local restaurants are returned to Galveston Bay where they can make a real difference for the health of our Bay,” said Michael Niebuhr, Galveston Bay Foundation’s Habitat Restoration Coordinator. “We’re thrilled to have reached 850 tons of recycled oyster shells and to continue to grow this program to create an even bigger impact on Galveston Bay habitat.”

All the recycled shell is destined to be put back in the Bay. To date, more than half of the recycled shell has been returned to Galveston Bay. This shell has been used in restoration projects big and small around the Bay. Most recently, a large-scale restoration project was completed in Dickinson Bay using 200 tons of the recycled shells. The recycled shells will not only become home to new oysters, but will also create fish habitat. In addition to large-scale projects, thousands of Galveston Bay Foundation volunteers have helped create 1,400 feet of reef utilizing the recycled shells at its Sweetwater Preserve in Galveston.

To learn more about Galveston Bay Foundation’s Oyster Shell Recycling Program, visit


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