Are Oysters an Option for Your Living Shoreline?

Living shorelines are the preferred approach to shoreline stabilization, but there are several ways to design a living shoreline. One option is building your own oyster reef.

Looking into building a living shoreline on your property? The options and process can prove frustrating and sometimes hard to navigate. See our web page, Six Steps to Create Your Living Shoreline. We break the process down into six steps that allow homeowners to make an informed decision on the best management practice for erosion prevention on their property.

To see if oysters would be a viable option at your location, see our Living Shoreline Oyster Reef Suitability Map for Virginia below.
This map is for educational purposes only and if you choose to incorporate oysters into your living shoreline, we recommend speaking to a professional beforehand. There are several oyster professionals and oyster restoration techniques available.

Parameters for determining if site is suitable for a viable oyster reef:

  • Bottom Type: The ideal location is a hard or sandy bottom.
  • Salinity: The water salinity needs to be above 8 parts per thousand (ppt).
  • Tide: Oysters cannot survive out of the water for more than 24 hours. It is important to place oyster reefs in inner-tidal areas that are below mean low tide.
  • Fetch: Fetch is the distance wind travels over a body of water. This parameter is important due to wave energy generated by wind. For oyster reefs, a low to medium fetch is ideal to reduce wave energy.

Instructions on how to use the map should pop up below. They also can be found in the “About” section of the map.

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