American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Project

One thing many people don’t realize is how much a coastal restoration project looks like a construction project. That’s because it IS a construction project, just one that builds environmental infrastructure instead of houses and roads.

In many cases, the same materials, construction equipment and contractors are used. Landscape-scale restoration has less to do with tree hugging and more to do with barges, dump trucks and earth moving.

One project that demonstrates clearly the economic benefits of oyster restoration is our large-scale project funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009. Our long-term partner, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was the granting agency. The federation partnered with many agencies, universities, groups and private companies on the project, which was among a handful nationwide that were awarded, and the only one awarded in North Carolina.


  • 66 acres of oyster reefs created
  • 141,200 labor hours, or 140 full-time equivalents
  • Barge operators, tug boat and ferry captains, mining employees, truckers, commercial fishermen, quarry owners, boat captains, state agency employees, scientists and us.
  • $5 million
  • 40,000 bushels of oyster shells
  • 54,500 tons of reef material