Friday, January 28, 2022


The Indiana House passes a controversial bill barring schools from teaching about Critical Race Theory; and President Biden pledges to place a Black woman on the Supreme Court for the first time.


Justice Stephen Breyer formally announces his retirement; the Dept. of Education will help students who fell behind during the pandemic; and AZ lawmakers consider a bill granting them control over elections.


Free COVID tests by mail but some rural Americans need to go the extra mile; farmer storytellers join national campaign to battle corporate consolidation; specialty nurses want more authority; and rare bat gets credit for the mythic margarita.

Deep Horizon Oil Spill Settlement Funds to Help Restore TX Oyster Reefs


Tuesday, November 9, 2021   

HOUSTON -- Storm damage, pollution and other factors, some related to climate change, are reducing the oyster population, but settlement funds from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill are now available to restore oyster reefs in the Gulf of Mexico.

Experts estimate the Gulf lost between four and eight billion oysters to the massive oil spill, and also saw a loss of reproduction in ensuing years.

Chad Hanson, science officer for The Pew Charitable Trusts, said federal and state officials have earmarked almost $40 million for new or improved reefs to help the shellfish reproduce and thrive.

"The sad news is, oysters have been in massive decline over the past couple decades," Hanson reported. "Something like 80% to 90% of oyster reefs have been lost worldwide, and that's indicative in the Gulf as well."

The oyster work is part of a nearly $100 million payout to also help restore sea turtles, marine mammals and birds, the first in a series of oil-spill recovery plans for the region.

Bill Rodney, coast ecologist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, noted by helping oyster reefs grow bigger and taller, shorelines are better protected from storm surge, rising sea levels and erosion.

"We're doing that in Texas, and it's building on what we've already done, so we don't have to do it all in one project," Rodney explained. "We're sort-of integrating it into what's already out there in the landscape."

Hanson noted most people appreciate oysters on the half shell at their local seafood restaurant, but do not realize the small mollusks filter up to 50 gallons of water a day, improving water quality by removing pollutants, sediment and other particles.

"An oyster creates a reef," Hanson observed. "It's almost like a coral reef in its ecological importance, and that reef creates habitat and that habitat has a bunch of ecosystem services."

In addition to habitat, he added healthy oyster reefs provide food and breeding grounds for fish, which in the Gulf ranges from red drum and spotted sea trout to crabs.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Disclosure: The Pew Charitable Trusts - Environmental Group contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Climate Change/Air Quality, Consumer Issues, Endangered Species and Wildlife, Energy Policy, Environment, Health Issues, Public Lands/Wilderness, and Salmon Recovery. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
Solar energy would have been used to replace carbon-based power sources under Arizona's proposed clean-energy plan. (andreiorlov/Adobe Stock)


Frustrated environmental and clean-energy advocates say after four long years of debate and compromise, regulators sent Arizona back to the starting …

Social Issues

When North Dakotans head out to cast their ballots later this year, there is a chance some will do so in a voting center and not a designated …

Social Issues

South Dakota continues to grapple with its low ranking when it comes to paying schoolteachers, but the issue is getting focus in 2022, including a …

Older Washingtonians take more prescription drugs on average and so are disproportionately affected by rising drug costs. (kmiragaya/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

Washington state lawmakers are considering a measure to limit the growing cost of prescription drugs. Senate Bill 5532 would establish a …


The state of Illinois is allocating nearly a quarter-billion dollars to support new downstate transit and ports projects. Roughly half will go …

Drug overdose deaths topped more than 100,000 in 2021, according to the CDC. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

Advocates and faith groups are calling for more investments in harm reduction across the state, as new provisional data shows overdose deaths have …

Social Issues

More than 300 Kentucky farmers participated in the state's Farms to Food Banks program last year, and at a recent virtual rally, state officials said …

Social Issues

Farmers and ranchers in Montana and across the nation are calling on Congress to pass the American Beef Labeling Act. Most food is required to have …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021