An effort to reestablish more than 1,000 acres of oyster reefs along the Mississippi Coast will wrap up by Sept. 30, the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources announced today (Sept. 20).

The project, which includes planting oyster clutch, began in August and is expected to be finished by Sept. 30, the MDMR said.

The project involves the rebuilding of 1,043 acres of oyster reefs built with crushed oyster shell and limestone in five sites: St. Joe's Reef, Pass Marianne Reef, Telegraph Reef, Henderson Point Reef and Pass Christian Tonging Reef.

An estimated 30,000 cubic yards of crushed oyster shell were shipped from Bayou La Batre, Ala., on barges that are 123 feet long and 30 feet wide. Also, 34,681 cubic yards of limestone material were moved about 430 miles down the Mississippi River to the Mississippi Gulf Coast on hopper barges 195 feet long and 35 feet wide.

High-pressure hoses are used to disperse the oyster shell and limestone material fro the barges onto the reefs. The oyster reefs being replenished are.

Oyster larvae swim around in the water for approximately three weeks, and then descend to the bottom of the sound and permanently attach themselves to the oyster shell and limestone material where they will grow.

It is expected that oysters should be ready to harvest on the newly established reefs within 18 to 24 months, the MDMR said.

The project is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Emergency Disaster Recovery Programs I and II.