Monday, 12 July 2010

Reef Balls to Help Oyster Reproduction in Chesapeake Bay - WTKR-TV3

Reef balls are essentially half-circles of concrete, with holes in them. Like a big piece of circular, concrete Swiss cheese. Why are they so fantastic? Because they can provide shelter and habitat for a number of marine species.

photo credit Reef Ball Foundation

They're being used in about 60 countries on 4,000 different projects. One of those is the oyster restoration project in the Chesapeake Bay. Thousands of tiny oyster larvae are attached to each reef ball via their own natural cement. As these little babies grow, they will create a reef structure providing many homes to important bay species. What's more is that oysters are champions at filtering water - up to 50 gallons a day each - which will help restore the bay's natural environment after decades of overfishing and degradation.

""Each reef ball in itself is an oyster reef, each reef ball can probably have several thousand, tens of thousands oysters on it," said Tommy Leggett, Chesapeake Bay Foundation."

"They should form nice three deep reef with lots of surface area for other organisms by the end of the summer," said Scott Riley Chesapeake Bay Foundation."

You might have seen Mike Rowe making reef balls back in 2007 on an episode of Dirty Jobs. It's kind of a process, and even small balls can weigh about 50lbs, with the larger ones topping 6,000lbs. I remember having to move a truckload of these things for someone one summer and each weighed about 170lbs...which trust me is enough for a TRUCKLOAD in AUGUST.

But wait - there's more. Not only are reef balls an amazing tool you can use to help re-build reef systems, now you can actually become a part of them. Yep. A part of them.

Eternal Reefs will add your cremated remains into the cement that makes the reef balls - turning you into part of an everlasting reef, making you a home for dozens of marine species. You actually become a reef! In a sense, you live on, eternally surrounded by rich sea life in beautiful colours, forever resting in the peace beneath the sea. Personally, I can think of nothing better. The thought of being surrounded by a beautiful environment - and actually contributing to it - for eternity strikes a chord in me. Like the Eternal Reefs website says: "It seems more of a beginning than an ending." Each "Memorial Reef," as they are called, is given a plaque inscribed with the deceased’s name and dates, and placed in the area of his or her choosing.

Interesting, no? I don't know where I'd rather be...Offshore of my hometown beach, or sipping an eternal piña colada off some tropical island somewhere.

photo credit Reef Ball Foundation

Full article here (WTKR-TV3)

More info here (Reef Ball Foundation)

More info here (Eternal Reefs)

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I think they are great tool in helping us to revive the oyster population of the chesapeake Bay. Thanks!