Nature Conservancy’s $500,000 grant aids oysters

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A large-scale oyster sanctuary is being constructed in the Piankatank River as part of a project to restore the briny delicacy to 10 Virginia tributaries by 2025.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Friday announced a $500,000 grant from The Nature Conservancy to help construct the $3.8 million project. The conservancy is part of a joint venture between the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, the Army Corps of Engineers and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Piankatank project in Middlesex County is aimed at bolstering oyster stocks throughout the river.

McAuliffe said the sanctuary will help clean the water, provide habitat for other species and create future generations of the hard shell.

The reef will be off limits to oyster harvesting.

Disease and pollution decimated the Chesapeake Bay’s oyster stocks.

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