Enhancing Recreational Fishing Opportunities in the Lynnhaven River through Habitat Restoration, Virginia

Virginia Beach, Virginia

This project was funded in FY2020 through the NOAA Office of Habitat Conservation and the NOAA Recreational Fisheries Initiative.

Lynnhaven River Now has partnered with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to construct a one-acre oyster reef in the Eastern Branch of the Lynnhaven River. The reef will be constructed with shell collected through the City of Virginia Beach’s oyster shell recycling program, and will be seeded with one million oyster spat. Increasing oyster reef acreage will expand and improve habitat for species such as summer flounder, black sea bass, striped bass, red drum, spot, Atlantic croaker, and more. The Lynnhaven River is Essential Fish Habitat for 11 federally managed species with high recreational or socioeconomic significance, and is one of five rivers in Virginia targeted for oyster habitat restoration under the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement’s oyster restoration goal.

As part of this project, Lynnhaven River Now and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation will engage directly with the recreational fishing community by seeking input on reef placement through targeted meetings and other outreach efforts, including ‘ride alongs’ in Chesapeake Bay Foundation vessels to scout the best location and recreational fishing sites. In addition, information about the project will be shared in the annual Virginia Rod and Reef Slam: Angling for Oyster Restoration Fishing Tournament promotional materials.

Text provided by NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office, photo provided by Brent James, Lynnhaven River Now.