SCORE restores Oyster Reef: this Article features a board member volunteering

Check out this article from the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium about restoration of Oyster Reefs. It describes some volunteering opportunities.

Bill Thielfoldt, a retired sales and marketing executive, found a new way of understanding the natural world when he volunteered for the South Carolina Oyster Restoration and Enhancement (SCORE) program managed by SCDNR.

It was in the early 2000s that scientists, government agencies, and nonprofit groups began building volunteer efforts to restore reefs in U.S. estuaries and build grassroots networks for coastal stewardship.

Established in 2000, SCORE was initially supported in part by the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium as one of the first statewide oyster-recycling programs outside of the Chesapeake Bay region.

About 17,000 SCORE volunteers have donated more than 43,000 volunteer hours to build over two acres of oyster-reef habitat at more than 50 sites along the South Carolina coastline.

Volunteers fill polypropylene mesh bags with shell and plant them fire-brigade style along shorelines to provide a clean hard substrate for oyster larvae to settle on.

Bags of oyster shell are used to elevate the substrate’s profile off intertidal muddy bottoms; loose shells are more likely to sink in the mud. SCORE volunteers also test water quality, oyster survival and growth, and other parameters near restored reefs.

Three years ago, Thielfoldt joined a SCORE restoration effort near his home on Daniel Island. “We could see the difference in a very short period of time as the Spartina grew up behind the new reef, stabilizing the shoreline. We’ve gone back every year and added shell to the original reef, and the oysters have grown up into towers. This experience has made me very interested in the environment of the coast. It’s piqued my interest in all of the things that go on in this magnificent estuary.”

Some SCORE volunteers have become ambassadors of reef restoration, distributing literature, assisting with school field trips, collaborating with restaurants and caterers to find ways to increase shell recycling, and aiding SCDNR staff with the management of recycled shell.

Click this link to read the whole article.