Coastal Communities

Grow Oyster Reefs

Growing oyster reefs to protect coastal communities and ecosystems

Team Lead

Evelyn Tickle

Hear the Pitch


The Problem

Around the US, oyster reefs are breaking down and dying out. Since the 1850s, 85 percent of reefs have broken down due to human interferences. This is highly problematic because oyster reefs filter water and remove toxins, provide sanctuary for sea creatures, and protect coastlines from storm and tidal surges.  

The Solution

To help protect our waters, Grow Oyster Reefs (Grow) offers efficient, scalable reef restoration solutions that transform unproductive marine environments into hospitable environments for oysters to grow and thrive. Grow’s organic, self-sustaining system works with, not against, nature.

Working across diverse geographies and their respective systems, Grow develops site-level solutions using a combination of modular products—CaCO3 concrete, reef tiles, and reef disks—that are affordable and easily transported and installed. Additionally, through eco-infrastructure and smart reef mapping and sensor technology, Grow collects critical monitoring data to combat climate change at scale.

Market Opportunity

  • In the Chesapeake Bay alone, the US Army Corps has identified 24 tier-one tributaries for oyster reef restoration covering between 17,500 and 35,000 acres estimated to cost between $2 and $6 billion dollars. 
  • Analysis of the costs and benefits of a native oyster reef restoration project in Chesapeake Bay indicates that the economic value of the benefits exceeds the costs several-fold.

Organization Highlights

  • Patents pending for three products
  • Finalist for the RISE Coastal Community Resilience Challenge
  • Has expanded into several tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay, covering the upper watershed in Maryland and the lower watershed in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia

Existing Partnerships

Grow has partnered with several organizations during product development:

  • Piloting an initial oyster reef project with The Nature Conservancy in Maine
  • Recently completed a successful one-year pilot with the University of Maryland, suggesting a significant regeneration advantage using the CaCO3 concrete mix
  • Partnering with the Elizabeth River Project in Norfolk, Virginia on restoration of area

Organization Goals

Grow seeks to achieve the following goals as they move from the pilot to growth phase:

  • Further develop product design and technology for embedded water quality sensors
  • Scale operations and improving the manufacturing process
  • Translate data sets from their initial pilots into clear and concise marketing materials

Partnership Goals

To reach the goals mentioned above, Grow seeks partnerships to:

  • Advise pitching to new investors and grantors as they fundraise
  • Provide engineering and architectural design mentorship for the development of their products


Stats

Grow’s reef tiles achieve 85 percent more oyster coverage compared to competitor solutions.

Solver Team

Organization Type: 
For-profit

Headquarters:
Charlottesville, VA, USA

Stage:
Growth

Working in:
USA

Employees:
6

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