Vermilion Bay Project

The Nature Conservancy contracted Wayfarer Environmental Technology to install 5' diameter OysterBreak rings in a project to protect the shoreline of the National Audubon Paul J. Rainey Wildlife Refuge within Southwest Pass Bay by building semi-artificial oyster reefs. The OysterBreak reef component rings are made of patent-pending OysterKrete. OysterKrete attracts oysters and provides the perfect habitat for new oysters.

Over one to two years the significant oyster formations cement the OysterBreak components into a continuous, integral reef which mitigates wave action, stabilizes shorelines, reduces shoreline erosion and creates more habitat for local wildlife including sport fish attracted by the large oyster population.

The unique, patented design of OysterBreak rings allows easy manufacturing.  OysterBreak components can be inventoried local to the site or local to cost-effective transportation sites.  Local inventories of OysterBreak rings speeds up installation and holds down installation costs.


Creative local solutions are used to transport OysterBreak rings. Including local transportation and installation resources boost local economies and makes OysterBreak a greener solution. Flexible handling and shipping options also tend to minimize local habitat impact during installation.  And OysterBreak rings are perfect for emergency mediation, mitigation and protection systems for permanent coastal or estuary environmental improvements.

Historically the ultimate solution for shoreline stabilization was stone.  Transportation and installation costs are high and stone breaks do not provide substantial habitat improvements.  And because stone breaks are not a unitized structure, high wave action in large storms can compromise them.  OysterBreak becomes a unitized structure as generations of oysters cement the entire structure together.  This makes OysterBreak a better solution especially in areas susceptable to large storms and strong wave action.

Vermilion Bay Phase III

In 2012, The Nature Conservancy contracted Wayfarer to construct eight additional segments from 175 ft to 225 ft. This phase introduced a thinner walled, 1800 lb OysterBreak armor unit with a 4" vertical extension. Contracting innovations included a 2 barge system, which allowed for access closer to the shoreline, and a new hydraulically actuated lifting jig that completely eliminated the need for a man in the water.

Vermilion Bay Phase II

Based on the success of Phase I of the Vermilion project, TNC contracted Wayfarer to expand the scale of the original project. Wayfarer added onto each of the existing segments, bringing the length of each up to 225 ft. In addition, two additional segments were deployed, introducing the "OysterBreak Gap" and "Spacing Gap" to the project design. The "Spacing Gap" helped us to achieve an additional 12% of project length per unit installed, while the "OysterBreak Gap" created further efficiencies.

Other innovations were introduced on the deployment side as well. Wayfarer's marine subcontractor utilized a much larger barge, equipped with an excavator on crane mats. The contractor would spud the barge down parallel to the alignment, the excavator would work up and down the barge deploying OysterBreak ring units. This subcontractor also developed a hydraulically actuated spacing jig to properly achieve the "Spacing Gap" and more safely release the OysterBreak units when in place.

With Phase II, the total structure length was increased to approximately 1,350 linear feet, using the 5 ft diameter 2000 lb+ OysterBreak armor ring units.

Vermilion Bay Phase I

In 2010, Wayfarer was contracted by The Nature Conservancy to construct a semi-artificial oyster reef at the Rainey Refuge using the Oysterbreak™ Shoreline Protection System. The goal of this project was to create shoreline protection, while comparing different configurations of oyster reef. Therefore, high profile and low profile OysterBreak structures were deployed. In total, 4 segments, approximately 150 ft to 180 ft in length were deployed using 666 of the 5 ft diameter, 2000lb+ OysterBreak armor units.

Because of the shallow water at the project site, a local contract with a large crane-equiped air boat and shallow draft barges was subcontracted to deploy the OysterBreak units. Because of our rapid manufacturing and deployment, the speed of project completion astonished our client.