Oyster architecture could save our coastlines

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New worlds from old oysters. Protecting the planet’s sandy fringes is increasingly important: Around one-third of Americans live within 50 miles of the coast, even as climate change erodes the land beneath their feet. Storms and sea-level rise are eating away at the fragile edges of continents, leaving us with less and less solid ground to stand on. To combat water’s advance, some communities are depositing mollusks in strategic spots as a nature-​inspired engineering solution. Here’s where and how oyster-tecture could keep our homes from crumbling away into the sea. 1. Beneath the surface Undoing our damage to oysters can help ease our impact on everything else. Each one can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day. Replenished beds could help restore the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding lands, a region known for rare birds, horseshoe crabs, and agricultural pollution. 2. At the bottom Larvae need something to hold on to. In lieu of their layered ancestral homes, 40-micron eggs can grow on discarded oyster shells from restaurants. The husks dry out for a year, then get seeded with eggs, bundled into porous containers, and dumped in the harbor. 4. In the breakers When a wave breaks over […]

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