loading oyster reef materials

Friends of Hunting Island &
SCORE Oyster Reef Project

Once I post the volunteer activities of one of our on-going projects three years (!) running, I believe it deserves a page of its own. ~The Web Witch

"Bucket Brigade"
Loading Reef Material
at Russ Point Landing


On Tuesday, May 25th, about 50 volunteers from Friends, AMI Beaufort Kids (formerly Beaufort Marine Institute), and the Coastal Conservation Association joined DNR SCORE and Hunting Island State Park staff for our 5th year of building oyster habitat on Hunting Island. What a great day it was and what a wonderful project this is for the volunteers and the oysters.

2010 oyster reef bags

Our hardy group of oyster lovers put out 530 20-lb. mesh bags of oyster shells at low tide to form a reef. We built the 763-square foot reef next to last year’s build and together they constitute a pretty impressive amount of oyster habitat. Last year’s reef is already showing a substantial amount of growth ("recruitment") and the entire reef will soon be filtering water, creating habitat, and supplying food for a variety of marine life, while helping to stabilize this section of our beautiful low country marsh.

Thanks to Rob Holquist at RiverSmart, who posted photos on their website of the build. Also, big thanks go to our friends and partners on the Hunting Island State Park staff who pitched in; as well as the dedicated South Carolina Oyster Restoration and Enhancement Program (SCORE) staff, who do some important and often overlooked work for our community and the state as a whole. Take a look at the SCORE website to learn more about all their great projects. Finally, a shout out to Terry Stone, FOHI Board Member, who helped to coordinate the project with SCORE and made sure we had enough volunteers to throw those oyster bags!

SCORE Oyster Reef Project in Southern Living

The July 2009 issue of Southern Living includes a great article on our collaboration with DNR to build more oyster habitat in Fripp Inlet. Quotes from Bonnie and Terry, with 2008 photos. Get your copy at local outlets and watch for it online at Southernliving.com.


Despite the rainy weather, many Friends members came together June 4th in cooperation with SCORE (South Carolina Oyster Restoration and Enhancement Program) to build another, larger oyster shell reef at Russ Point Landing on Hunting Island.

WTOC (click on the video link) covered the work done that day. Thanks to Terry Stone, who organized the project, our friends at SCORE, and the fine young men from the Beaufort Marine Institute who also helped out.


On July 17, 2008, twelve FOHI volunteers, thirty other volunteers and twelve young men from the Beaufort Marine Institute joined DNR SCORE (South Carolina Oyster Restoration and Enhancement) Division Director Nancy Hadley and staff members Michael Hodges and Holly Nettles for the third annual oyster reef restoration along the southeastern shore of Hunting Island. Two new reefs were constructed adjacent to those created last year and last year’s reefs were adjusted slightly to the east. The reefs are just south of the Nature Center and north of the Fripp Island Bridge and other than at high tide are easily visible from the fishing pier.

2008 laying out oyster reefEach new reef consists of 150 thirty pound bags of recycled oyster and clam shells, thirty eight rows long and four rows deep. Bags were stockpiled at the recycle drop off station at Russ Point Landing. Half the shell had been bagged by Ashville Scout Troop 53 while on a primitive camping expedition to the park in January and half by the Bluffton Environmental Action Volunteers. On the morning of July 17, 2008 the volunteers gathered at Russ Point Landing. The bags were transported by trailer from the recycle bin to the landing where volunteers formed a "fire bucket" brigade and passed the bags to the floating dock and onto DNR boats. The bags were then ferried from the landing to the reef site where they were dropped overboard at the location for construction of the new reefs.

After a lunch and watermelon break and enough time for the tide to recede and expose the bags, volunteers divided into two groups and followed Michael and Holly into the sand, mud and water and again formed lines to pass and arrange the bags to create the two new rectangular reefs. A Southern Living Magazine reporter and photographer covered the event and the story should be in the upcoming issue. DNR expects that reef construction at Hunting Island will continue as an annual project so make sure and recycle your shells at the drop off bins at Russ Point Landing or at the Sands Beach Landing in Port Royal. For more information on the SCORE Program go to http://score.dnr.sc.gov/.

Terry Stone

2007 team building oyster reefBuilding an Oyster Reef 2007

"The South Carolina Oyster Restoration and Enhancement program (SCORE) has had great success in their restoration efforts. In six years volunteers have placed 280 tons of oyster shell at 30 sites along the South Carolina coast. The resulting reefs are estimated to be home to as many as eight million oysters which may filter 50-100 million gallons of water a day! In spite of these efforts, the oyster populations in Beaufort County are still declining. This decline is due to oyster harvesting, failure to recycle oyster shell, increased boat wakes and silt from land development.

"Many thanks to all of you who helped out June 14, 2007 on the building of another new oyster reef at Hunting Island State Park. This worthwhile effort would not be possible without your volunteer assistance."

Eric Brown & Bonnie Wright

Oyster Reef Construction '06

On July 11th, 2006 over 40 volunteers from Friends of Hunting Island, park staff, the Beaufort Marine Institute and Beaufort Teen Center participated in oyster reef building effort at Hunting Island State Park Nature Center fishing pier. Under the direction of the competent staff from the SCORE program of the SC Department of Natural Resources, these volunteers waded in the mud under a 95-plus-degree mid-day sun to move 300 bags—4.5 tons of recycled oyster shells to create three new oyster reefs.

2006 oyster reef team Not only do we want the oyster reef preserved but, far more importantly, the filter feeding of the oyster improves water quality, the reefs provide habitat for various fish species, and oysters serve as natural barriers to prevent marsh erosion. Thanks to all the friends of Hunting Island who participated in this very worthwhile project.