A partnership among a business, the state and a nonprofit conservation organization is helping protect a part of St. Bernard Parish’s shoreline through the construction of an oyster reef.

Using an engineered system of interlocking circles made of marine-grade cement, the artificial reef is meant to serve as a base for young oysters to land and start building their shells. The goal is for the structure to be built upon by generations of oysters, creating — over time — more natural reefs.

Not only can these reefs help protect shorelines from eroding because of wave energy, but they also can serve as habitat for numerous other types of marine life.

The project is funded through a $400,000 grant from the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and $160,000 from Chevron awarded to the Nature Conservancy.