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Friday, April 20, 2012 - 2:41am

Helicopter Rebuilds Oyster Beds

A helicopter is helping rebuild oyster beds that were wiped out a century ago in coastal Georgia.

The Department of Natural Resources started using the aircraft Thursday to lower pallets of oyster shells in Glynn County tidal creeks that once teemed with the bivalve mollusks. The recycled oyster shells will become a foundation where oyster larvae can attach themselves and form living reefs.

The airlift effort was expected to continue into Friday.

Doug Haymans of the DNR's Coastal Resources Division said the state once had large quantities of oysters, but the reefs where they lived were wiped out about 100 years ago. He told the Florida Times-Union the job takes just days with a helicopter but a month by boat.

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