NEWPORT NEWS(AP) -- Virginia will begin its largest-ever oyster replenishment initiative in May.
The initiative will use $2 million in state funds to provide habitat on public oyster grounds in the James, York and Rappahannock rivers and elsewhere in the Chesapeake Bay.
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission said Thursday the summer-long replenishment program will involve shucking houses providing shells to Omega Protein, which will store them at its Reedville fishery. The shells will be spread on state-owned public oyster grounds to provide habitat so naturally occurring oyster larvae can attach to the shells. They'll reach market size in approximately three years.
An anticipated 1 million bushels of shells will be spread on the grounds, which also include Pocomoke and Tangier sounds.
Gov. Bob McDonnell proposed the funding and the Legislature approved it.