VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Officials in Virginia Beach are working to build a new oyster reef on the Lynnhaven River. 

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The new reef will be concrete-based in the Pleasure House Creek. Over 5,000 tons of crushed concrete will be blown from a barge into the water at great force to build a foot-high reef on the river bottom.

Once that process is complete, it will be covered with oyster shells. The reef is built that way because oyster shells are scarce.

This is part of a three-phase reef construction project in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Phase one and two are set to be finished in the next few months.

Phase three will be completed later this spring for a grand total of 128 acres of sanctuary reef.

Oysters on sanctuary reefs are used to filter pollution from the water and increase the Lynnhaven River native oyster population.

Lynnhaven’s watershed covers 64 square miles of land area and is home to half of Virginia Beach’s residents. It is bordered by the Chesapeake Bay on the north and the Atlantic Ocean on the East.

The Lynnhaven River’s semi-salty water, known as brackish water, flows through the area.