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Artificial reef expansion underway in Piankatank River

Oyster reef projects in the Piankatank River are getting a boost this month with the addition of 25 acres of granite base and oyster seed to an existing reef off Burton Point between Godfrey and Hills bays.

Primarily an Army Corps of Engineers project, the reef is being made possible through a cooperative funding effort of the Corps, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission and the Nature Conservancy. The contractor for the project is Seaward Marine of Chesapeake.

During a boat ride out to the reef last Thursday, Andrew Button, head of VMRC’s Replenishment Department, said that granite was chosen for the project both to get away from using oyster shell and because of its ability to remain in place in a potentially high energy environment. He said that because of transportation costs the quarried granite costs about the same as using old concrete, has more consistency for better placement, and doesn’t run the risk of having such materials as metals and plastics in it.

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