RICHMOND — EnviroNmental restoration workers dropped 100 man-made oyster reefs in shallow waters here to help bring back the once abundant native oysters in San Francisco Bay. The Bay in the 1800s supported a thriving oyster industry before overharvesting depleted the shellfish numbers and hydraulic gold mining smothered oyster habitat with silt.
On Friday, a nonprofit group called the Watershed Project intervened to give nature a helping hand in bringing back the West Coast oysters (which are different from the Japanese species of oysters served in many Bay Area restaurants).
Crews lowered 100 reef balls into shallow waters off Point Pinole Regional Park to provide new homes and hard surfaces for young Olympic oyster larvaue to latch on to and grow.
“This is a first step to bringing back our native oyster,” said the project director, who has been working three years to help bring the project to fruition.