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NSU students help restore oyster habitat

NSU students help restore Elizabeth River oyster habitat

This summer, Norfolk State University biology students and faculty helped the Elizabeth River Project in its effort to restore oyster habitats along the Elizabeth River. The work is part of NSU’s SECUREs grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to support undergraduate research experiences for our Spartans.  Additional grant support to ERP from the Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program facilitates projects like this to address water quality and natural resources in priority watershed areas throughout the country.

group photo Here in Norfolk, NSU students and faculty helped build new oyster reefs to provide substrate for oysters to attach to and grow. This mimics natural reefs and bolsters the biodiversity that is characteristic of southeast Virginia. It also supports the growth of native invertebrates, like blue crabs and ribbed mussels. The effort of these Norfolk State students and faculty is part of the Elizabeth River Project’s goal to establish thousands of acres of living shoreline along the river.

Oysters are an important part of river restoration because they filter river water, thus improving the quality of the water. In addition, oyster reefs along the shoreline help mitigate flooding, so this effort also assists neighborhoods along the river.

Together these efforts are part of an environmental justice approach to restoring the Eastern branch of the Elizabeth River for all its residents.  And since the eastern branch is right next to our campus, this includes all the Spartans at NSU!

For more information on the project, please visit