Environmentalists are planning to build a $3.5 million man-made oyster reef in Galveston Bay as part of an effort to preserve Texas' oyster population, which is on the brink of extinction.
The Houston Chronicle reports that The Nature Conservancy announced Wednesday that construction on the 50-acre Galveston Bay reef will begin this winter. A 60-acre reef will also be built at Copano Bay near Rockport.
A report by the Virginia-based environmental group says oyster harvests in Galveston Bay decreased 88 percent between 1999 and 2016. Oysters have struggled to build reefs on their own because of overfishing, hurricane damage and problems from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
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The Galveston Bay project will be funded with money from a 2016 settlement with BP, which leased the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded.