VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach is working on keeping our water as clean as possible through oyster reefs. We visited their marsh overlook with looks out on Owl's Creek.
As far as reefs, "we have three types: a subtidal reef, an intertidal reef made of shells and an intertidal reef made of oyster castles, which are concrete blocks with oyster shells incorporated into it." Chris Witherspoon, vice president of education, explains.
"The reason we put these reefs in is one: oysters filter water so they improve the water quality by removing sediment or other organic matter," Witherspoon notes.
Oysters are filter feeders, which means they eat by pumping water through their gills. They trap particles, chemicals, and other junk.
Though they are small, oysters move multiple gallons of water in a short amount of time. They're also able to help with erosion control.
The team at the Virginia Aquarium plans to enhance the oyster reefs along the creek near the middle of 2020.
"It’s a way for us that we can keep our water in better condition both for the people and the other animals living here by giving oysters a chance to do their job."