Piankatank River Oyster Recovery Project

Project Manager

Heather Lockwood
Project Manager | Biologist 
Programs & Civil Works Branch
Norfolk District, USACE
803 Front Street
Norfolk, VA 23510

Project Details & Background

PROJECT STATUS (as of 2024): Monitoring

The Piankatank River Oyster Recovery Project is a multi-phased effort to construct 78 acres of artificial reef habitat using granite rock as the base material in partnership with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC). VMRC is the non-federal sponsor for the project contributing to the effort through construction of new sanctuary reef and the replenishment of existing reefs. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) provided additional funds to VMRC contributing to the Phase 1 effort. Phase 1 was constructed in 2017 by Seaward Marine Co. who placed VDOT Size A1 granite across 25 acres. Phase 2 was constructed in 2023 also by Seaward Marine Co, utilizing the same materials as Phase 1 (VDOT Size A1 granite) across 53 acres. The monitoring of these reefs will continue until USACE/VMRC can confirm long term sustainability of the reef. It is anticipated that the final year of monitoring for Phase 1 will be in 2024 (Yr 7 of reef being installed), and this will be the first year of monitoring for Phase 2 (Yr 1 of reef being installed). Monitoring efforts have been conducted by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) and Christopher Newport University (CNU). The latest report from 2020 is posted on this page.

704B of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986

Authorization requires a cost share of 75% federal and 25% non-federal for Chesapeake Bay Oyster projects.

Construction Contract for Phase 1 (25 acres A1 rip rap) = $2,082,700 Seaward Marine

Construction Contract for Phase 2 (53 acres A1 rip rap) = $4,697,047 Seaward Marine

Project Map