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Virginia Begins Largest Oyster Replenishment in State History

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Under the program, one billion oyster shells will be returned to public oyster grounds.
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Under the program, one billion oyster shells will be returned to public oyster grounds.

Virginia has begun its largest oyster replenishment in history.

Natural Resources Secretary Doug Domenech says the aim is to dredge up one million bushels of empty oyster shells to redistribute on public oyster grounds. Domenech says the end of July, roughly one billion oyster shells will have been returned to public oyster grounds in the James River, Mobjack Bay, the York River, and off Tangier Island.

Virginia officials hope the shells will be the platforms for a new generation of oysters that will remain untouched until they mature to adulthood.

Disease and pollution have greatly diminished native oyster stocks in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

The oyster replenishment is funded by $2 million in the state budget.

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