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Why Is the Army Buying 4,000 Bushels of Empty Oyster Shells for $15,000?


"shucked and air dried"

Wednesday was the last day the Army would be taking quotes from vendors for an unusual request: empty oyster shells.

Its description of requirement simply stated "The Wilmington District of the US Army Corps of Engineers requests the procurement and delivery of oyster shells that have been shucked and air dried in accordance with the attached specifications."

Wired has looked into the odd request and found that the Army is looking for 4,000 bushels of these empty oyster shells that could cost up to $15,000. But why? Here's more:

[...] it turns out the shells are destined for the southeastern corner of Roanoke Island, N.C. abutting Wanchese Harbor. That’s where the Army Corps of Engineers has a marsh creation and restoration project. There’s no military value to the enterprise; it’s part of the Corps’ longstanding civil works and environmental mission.

According to Wired, the Wanchese restoration project, which spans 12 acres near the Outer Banks in North Carolina, began in 2002 and completion of the project depends on the oyster shells. It reports Ann Johnson, spokeswoman for the Wilimington, N.C., District of the Corps of Engineers, saying they will be used to "expand the existing oyster reef component of the Wanchese Marsh project to about one acre."

Just how much is 4,000 bushels worth of empty oyster shells anyway? Johnson told Wired it would fill five dump trucks.

Featured image via Flickr/pelican

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