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The Virginia Oyster Reef Heritage Foundation has received a $943,550 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

This grant will support the second phase of a comprehensive large-scale oyster restoration effort in the Coan, Yeocomico, Great Wicomico, Rappahannock and Piakatank rivers, as well as Tangier Sound and Main Bay. The restoration involves constructing three-dimensional sanctuary reefs and adjacent two-dimensional harvest bars for commercial watermen. The project will increase oyster populations and fisheries habitat and has the potential for water quality improvement from increased oyster filtration. The Virginia Oyster Reef Heritage Foundation was established to conduct the private fund raising of the Virginia Oyster Heritage Program.

“NOAA and the Bush Administration are working to improve the understanding of our environment to strengthen regional initiatives such as oyster population restoration,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “This grant to the Foundation will help advance knowledge critical to oyster recovery efforts in southern Virginia.”

Each year, NOAA awards approximately $900 million in grants to members of the academic, scientific and business communities to assist the agency in fulfilling its mission to study the Earth’s natural systems in order to predict environmental change, manage ocean resources, protect life and property and provide decision makers with reliable scientific information. NOAA goals and programs reflect a commitment to these basic responsibilities of science and service to the nation for the past 33 years.

The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. To learn more about NOAA, please visit

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