Oyster Restoration Project

Get involved with G.E.O.R.G.I.A., our community-based oyster restoration project.

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Georgia’s oyster populations were once immense but over-fishing, habitat degradation and disease have considerably impacted these estuarine communities. UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant coordinate a community-based oyster restoration project called G.E.O.R.G.I.A. where recycled oyster shell are used to create new oyster reefs. This project helps build public awareness of the importance of oyster reef habitat along the Georgia coast.

Intertidal oysters are described as a “keystone” species for the critical role they play in maintaining a healthy coastal ecosystem. Dense populations of oysters can significantly improve water clarity and quality by filtering algae and pollutants.

These reefs also provide a hard substrate in the otherwise soft, muddy substrates of Georgia’s estuaries for oyster larvae and other organisms to settle, attach to and grow. Intertidal reefs provide spawning, breeding, feeding and nursery habitat for many commercial, recreational and sport species that are ecologically important to the region.

Georgia has approximately one-third of the remaining coastal salt marshes on the East Coast of the United States. Intertidal reefs protect these marshes against shoreline erosion by dissipating the energy caused by boat wakes and waves. Oysters are also an important food source for humans and many other animals.

How can you get involved?

Donate the shell from your oyster roasts:
Are you planning a private oyster roast? Do you own a seafood restaurant that serves oysters? Donate your shell to the G.E.O.R.G.I.A. program. Call UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant to have our staff organize a shell collection. Alternatively, you can drop off shell at one of the conveniently located recycling centers in Savannah, Brunswick and Jekyll Island.

Oyster Shell Bagging:
On a monthly basis, volunteers meet at the shell centers and place the recycled shell into mesh bags that will be used to enhance future oyster reefs.

Oyster Reef Building:
Oyster reef building and enhancement takes place during the spring months as volunteers move the mesh bags of cured oyster shell to selected oyster reef sites. The shell inside the bags create the substrate for oysters and other organisms to attach and grow during the upcoming spawning season.

Oyster Reef Monitoring:
UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant train volunteers to conduct monitoring on a monthly basis at the restored sites. Volunteers conduct water quality testing, monitor the biological community at their site, observe oyster recruitment along with the growth and mortality rates at each restored reef.

Education Opportunities:
UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant offer hands-on, inquiry-based education programs for students in grades five through twelve that focus on oyster reef communities and restoration efforts.

Brunswick Shell Center

Location Map

Traveling I-95 South
Take the GA-25-SPUR / N GOLDEN ISLES PARKWAY exit- EXIT 38- toward US-17 / BRUNSWICK. 0.3 miles
Turn LEFT onto GOLDEN ISLES VETERAN MEMORIAL PKWY / GA-25 SPUR S / N GOLDEN ISLES PKWY. 4.6 miles
Turn SLIGHT RIGHT onto US-17 S / GA-25 S / OCEAN HWY 3.4 miles
Turn RIGHT onto 1 CONSERVATION WAY at GA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
The Shell Recycling Center will be on your right just after the bridge.

Traveling I-95 North
Merge onto US-17 N / GA-25 N via EXIT 29 toward JEKYLL ISLAND / SAINT SIMONS / SEA ISLAND / BRUNSWICK. 7.9 miles
Turn LEFT onto 1 CONSERVATION WAY at GA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
The Shell Recycling Center will be on your right just after the bridge.

Darien Shell Center

Location Map

Traveling I-95 Southbound
Take the GA-251 exit, EXIT 49, toward I-95-BL/ DARIEN
Turn LEFT onto GA-251/ I-95 BR. 1.3 miles
Turn RIGHT onto US-17/ I-95 BR/ GA-25/ OCEAN HWY Oyster Shell Recycle Center located at Champney River boat ramp parking lot on left.

Traveling I-95 Northbound
Take the GA-99/ I-95-BR exit, EXIT 42. 0.4 mi
Turn RIGHT onto GA-99/ I-95 BR/ GRANTS FERRY RD. 1.0 mi
Turn LEFT onto US-17/ I-95 BR/ GA-25/ GA-99/ OCEAN HWY. 3.0 mi
Oyster Shell Recycle Center located at Champney River boat ramp parking lot on right.

Jekyll Shell Center

Location Map

Traveling I-95 South
Take the GA-25-SPUR / N GOLDEN ISLES PARKWAY exit- EXIT 38- toward US-17 BRUNSWICK. 0.3 miles
Turn LEFT onto GOLDEN ISLES VETERAN MEMORIAL PKWY / GA-25 SPUR S / N GOLDEN ISLES PKWY. 4.6 miles
Turn SLIGHT RIGHT onto US-17 S / GA-25 S / OCEAN HWY. 5.7 miles
Turn SLIGHT LEFT onto GA-520 E / JEKYLL ISLAND RD. 6.7 miles
Turn RIGHT onto S. Riverview Drive. ~ 3.5 miles
Shell Recycle Center is located within the Jekyll Island Recycle Center, 2nd gate on left

Traveling I-95 North
Merge onto US-17 N / GA-25 N / GA-520 E / CORRIDOR Z via EXIT 29 toward JEKYLL ISLAND / SAINT SIMONS / SEA ISLAND / BRUNSWICK. 5.6 miles
Turn SHARP RIGHT onto GA-520 E / JEKYLL ISLAND RD. 6.7 miles
Turn RIGHT onto S. Riverview Drive. ~3.5 miles
Shell Recycle Center is located within the Jekyll Island Recycle Center, 2nd gate on left.

Tybee Shell Center

Location Map

Start out going EAST on GA-25 CONN / W BAY ST toward FAHM ST
Continue to follow W BAY ST
W BAY ST becomes GENERAL MCINTOSH BLVD
Turn LEFT onto E PRESIDENT ST.
E PRESIDENT ST becomes ISLANDS EXPY
Turn SLIGHT RIGHT onto US-80 E / GA-26 E
Turn LEFT onto POLK ST

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