Discarded clam, oyster shells to be used for artificial reef

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The Town of Hempstead is building two reefs in the western bays off of Lido Beach using seafood shells.

Supervisor Laura Gillen says the plan will save the shores from erosion and the bays from pollution.

"Unlike concrete seawall or other hard structures that impedes the growth of plants and animals, this reef will actually attract marine life," says Gillen.

VIDEO: News conference on Town of Hempstead artificial reefs

Clam and oyster shells that are usually discarded by restaurants will now be taken out to the bay instead of the landfill.

Stephen Naham, Hempstead Town shellfish program director, says the shells will be placed in mesh bags and put into the water.

"We've got volunteers from the local community helping us bag up the shells," says Naham. "In Hempstead Bay, we lose about 7 acres of salt marsh habitat per year due to erosion.”

He says the shell reef will help mitigate some of that erosion.

The town received a $500,000 state grant for the project. The shells will be collected from local restaurants by volunteers from the Community Oyster Restoration Effort, or CORE.

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