Company to install artificial oyster reef in Elizabeth River

Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Hampton Roads is no stranger to flooding, and many wonder, how do you solve the flooding problem that affects so many? One local organization is taking steps to mitigate sea level rise. 

The non-profit RISE was awarded a $1.5 million grant and with that money, RISE started a “RISE Resilience Challenge,” which aims to help entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life. According to RISE, the project is part of a larger effort to demonstrate the economic and environmental benefits of investments in coastal resilience. The non-profit helps resilience-focused entrepreneurs bring their ideas to market through seed capital, networks and professional development resources.

Six businesses are splitting up the grant money, including GrowOysterReefs. The founder, Evelyn Tickle, wants to rebuilt oyster reefs to combat extreme flooding in coastal regions caused by rising seas. And on Thursday, the company installed its first artificial oyster reef in the Elizabeth River.

“We are beginning to use oysters on the shorelines to begin to help pull back the shorelines, as well as to help purify the water,” said Tickle. 

She received $285,000 for her oyster reef installation project from the grant through RISE. RISE got that money from part of a bigger HUD federal grant, of which Virginia got $120 million for resilience projects.

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