Nature Conservancy teams with Alabama Power on Mobile Bay reef project

Nature Conservancy teams with Alabama Power on Mobile Bay reef project
Volunteers from the Alabama Power Service Organization and the Nature Conservancy teamed up for a reef restoration project in Mobile Bay at Helen Wood Park. (Mike Kittrell / Alabama NewsCenter)

Dozens of volunteers from Alabama Power Service Organization and the Nature Conservancy spent Saturday wading in the waters of Mobile Bay making castles of 35-pound concrete blocks.

This wasn’t play time but, rather, the result of eight months of planning for an initiative to control erosion and create wildlife habitats that, if successful, could be duplicated elsewhere along the bay and coastal areas.

Alabama Power volunteers team up with the Nature Conservancy to create reefs in Mobile Bay from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

The Helen Wood Park reef along Mobile Bay has used bagged oyster shells in the past to create the artificial reefs, but they have not held up well to the Mobile Bay waves. The Nature Conservancy and other partners worked with Allied Concrete to develop Oyster Castles, which use a proprietary blend of materials that attract and foster oyster settlement, attachment and growth. They also create habitats for fish and crab populations.

In addition to APSO volunteers from Alabama Power’s Mobile Division and Plant Barry chapters, the Alabama Power Foundation contributed $50,000 for the materials. The Nature Conservancy worked on the planning and placement, and brought their own volunteers on the project.

Mobile APSO Chapter President Erin Nelson Delaporte said the volunteers were eager to tackle the project because of the benefits it is expected to bring to the shoreline.

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