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Wilmington – Just in time for the opening of this year’s oyster season, two new oyster shell drop-off centers are being established in Onslow County. Oyster shell collection bins will be built at the City of Jacksonville’s Sturgeon City Environmental Education Center and the Morris Landing Clean Water Preserve in Holly Ridge. This Tuesday October 10 staff from the NC Division of Marine Fisheries (NCDMF) and NC Coastal Federation (NCCF) will be building bins at the two sites for the public to recycle oyster shells. Construction will occur from approximately 10 a.m. – 12 noon at Sturgeon City and 2 – 4 p.m. at Morris Landing.

The two new drop-off centers are the most recent additions to a growing number of spots in North Carolina where the public can help restore oyster reefs by recycling their oyster shells. Led by the NCDMF and supported by numerous conservation organizations including NCCF, the Oyster Shell Recycling Partnership is working with restaurants, seafood dealers, community organizations and individuals to participate in this effort to collect oyster shells to build oyster reefs in protected oyster sanctuaries.

Oyster shell recycling in North Carolina has received significant support from the legislature through the establishment of a tax credit for shells donated to NCDMF starting this tax year of 2006; a ban starting January 1, 2007 on the disposal of oyster shells in landfills; and enabling a statewide coordinator to be hired.

Sturgeon City is already actively recycling oyster shell from restaurants and oyster roasts. Their efforts were boosted last year with funding from the Fish America Foundation and NOAA Restoration Center to purchase a trailer to help collect oyster shells. The shell drop-off bins are a result of funding from the same sources.

Recycled oyster shell purchased from oyster shucking operations is the primary source for current oyster reef restoration efforts. However, this oyster shell is under increasing demand and is becoming the limiting factor for oyster restoration projects. The Oyster Shell Recycling Partnership is working to increase the amount of shell recycled by encouraging the public to recycle their oyster shells by depositing them at one of the drop-off bins or by requesting a trailer for a larger oyster roasts.

The Partnership has recycled over 24,000 bushels of oyster shell since its inception in 2003. In addition to engaging the public, the shell gathered through the recycling program is a vital contribution to NCDMF's goal for its oyster restoration efforts. In 2007 NCMDF will deploy 300,000 bushels of oyster reef material in sanctuaries and harvest areas. This represents an increase from 239,000 bushels in 2005 and 277,000 in 2006.

WHO: North Carolina Coastal Federation, NC Division of Marine Fisheries’ Oyster Recycling Partnership

WHEN: Tuesday October 10th, 10 a.m.-12:00 noon in Sturgeon City Environmental Education Center, Jacksonville and 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. at Morris Landing, Holly Ridge

WHERE: Sturgeon City facility on Wilson Bay in Jacksonville. For more information and directions go to http://www.sturgeoncity.org/contact.html or call 910 938-5220

Directions to Morris Landing Clean Water Preserve - In Holly Ridge take Sound Rd. off Hwy 17 to Morris Landing Road and follow it straight (go straight where the road takes a sharp bend to the left) to the end at the waters edge of Stump Sound. For more information call Ted Wilgis at 910 231 6605.
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About the North Carolina Coastal Federation:
“Citizens Working Together for a Healthy Coast”

The North Carolina Coastal Federation (NCCF) is the state's largest nonprofit organization
working to restore and protect the coast. NCCF headquarters are located at 3609 Highway 24 in Ocean between Morehead City and Swansboro and are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5 pm.

The headquarters include NCCF's main offices, the Cape Lookout Coastkeeper office, a gift shop,
Nature Library, Weber Seashell Exhibit, ShoreKeeper Learning Center, and adjoining nature trail.

The NCCF also operates field offices in Wilmington and Manteo. For more information call 252-393-8185 or check out NCCF's website at www.nccoast.org
 
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