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Lafayette River Restoration

YOU DID IT - First in Oysters!

Oct. 8, 2018

The Elizabeth River Project with many public and private partners today declared the Lafayette to be the first Virginia river fully restored for the native oyster

YOU did it, members and partners! We have been working together intensively for a decade to bring back the once famous “Norfolk oyster.”

With your help, Elizabeth River Project has restored 12 oyster reefs in the Lafayette – the northern branch of the Elizabeth. In a major victory for an urban river once presumed dead, the Lafayette is the first bay tributary in Virginia to meet its goal as set by bay-wide scientists for fully restored for oyster habitat.

Meanwhile, many thanks to partners at Chesapeake Bay Foundation for placing 70 million oysters – Wow – on our restored reefs! Many  additional partners did their part, from NOAA, the US Army Corps of Engineers, HRSD and the City of Norfolk to construction contractors who helped us out, Lafayette Wetlands Partnership helping re-invent the citizen oyster reef, Rotary Clubs of Hampton Roads and so many more.

Enjoy this media coverage:

The Lafayette River is Virginia's first to earn "restored" status for oysters — The Virginian-Pilot: Click Here

Lafayette River becomes first Virginia waterway restored for oyster habitat — WTKR News 3: Click Here

RESTORED: Lafayette River First to Reach Oyster Milestone — Chesapeake Bay Magazine: Click Here

Chesapeake Bay Program video last year on this effort - HERE.



State Removes Lafayette From Impaired List

June 14, 2016

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality this week released a final report showing the Lafayette branch of the Elizabeth now meets state water quality standards for recreation contact because bacteria concentrations have significantly dropped! Elizabeth River Project and partners have been watching for this official word since reviewing a draft of the report in 2014 and noting the historic progress. 

Congratulations to dozens of partners and thousands of homes, schools and businesses who have been doing their part with us to restore the Lafayette branch of the Elizabeth since we organized a community-wide plan, adopted in 2011! 

One word of caution before you jump in your urban river. The report says the Lafayette is no longer impaired for “recreational contact.” We recommend our Safety First precautions.  Bacteria levels still may be high after heavy rains, especially in narrow tributaries.

Help keep these efforts growing. Become a member today!