Restoring Oyster Reef Habitat in Tres Palacios Bay and Developing Best Practices

Oyster reefs are commercially and ecologically important in Matagorda Bay, enhancing commercial and recreational fisheries, improving water quality, increasing biodiversity, and protecting shorelines. However, substantial loss of oyster reef habitat has increased the need for restoration to replace this critical habitat and its functions. This project will restore approximately 2-3 acres of oyster reef in Tres Palacios Bay, a secondary bay to Matagorda Bay. The project will also evaluate established and aquaculture-enhanced techniques for reef restoration—comparing reefs seeded with oysters via natural larval supply versus those supplemented with hatchery-reared larvae—to recommend best practices for successful future restoration.