The banks of the Tolomato River in northern Florida are being saved by ecological protection on the half-shell. Discarded oyster shells are being used to fight erosion around the Wright’s Landing archeological site, reported the Florida Times-Union. The site boasts an ancient burial mound and 17th century Spanish mission.

The oyster shells also are helping the next generation of young bivalves. Oyster larvae have begun colonizing the erosion controlling shells of their fore-bearers. More oyster beds is good news for the local economy. The shells are collected from local restaurants that may eventually serve the oysters now growing in the new beds.

PHOTOS: Whole Foods Seafood Ban: Meet the Fish

“We can say confidently we’re bringing more oysters into county waters,” said Lauren Flynn, restoration coordinator at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, in the Florida Times-Union. “So selling this to the community and the restaurants is not hard at all.”

Flynn’s plan will eventually use 78,000 pound of oyster shells that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill.

Forty other species of aquatic life also have been observed making their homes among the old shells.

IMAGE: An open oyster (Chris 73, Wikimedia Commons)