ORA Estuaries grows oyster reefs into living coastal protection infrastructure. Our mission is to empower coastal communities to rebuild the historic oyster reefs which provided storm resilience, food security and economic opportunity. ORA Estuaries partners with local and national organizations to implement best available science and cutting edge technology at meaningful scales.
Oysters have been described as the “temperate equivalent of coral reefs” for their importance to the coastal environment. They form the foundation of the estuarine ecology. Almost every estuary in the world once supported oyster reefs, but now 85% of the world’s oyster reefs have been lost. Likewise, estuaries support people. Twenty two of the 32 largest cities in the world are on estuaries. These coastal communities are growing in the face of sea level rise and storm intensification due to climate change. The result is that global storm surge damages are expected to rise from $10-40 billion to $100 billion annually by 2100. In response to these factors, communities throughout the world are developing coastal resiliency plans that combine robust natural features with engineered protection.
ORA Estuaries is at the forefront of this trend. ORA Estuaries’ founder, Tyler Ortego, is a leader in the field of using engineered oyster reefs for coastal shoreline protection. Tyler is on a mission to fundamentally disrupt the economics of coastal protection. To that end, ORA Estuaries and sister company ORA Technologies are developing a solution called the Oyster Scaffold. The developing Oyster Scaffold technology will empower communities to grow living oyster reefs into building blocks for coastal restoration. Those living building blocks can then be assembled into low cost shoreline protection or large barrier reefs. The growing process itself becomes a habitat feature, cleaning water, enhancing fisheries etc. We’re letting the oysters do the work.
In addition, as science and policy develops, ORA Estuaries is developing novel solutions for monetizing ecosystem services in a way that connects diverse stakeholders to large scale ecosystem restoration.