climate action project

Building Oyster Reef for Living Shoreline Creation and Water Purification in Carteret County, NC

Launched by Coastal Technologies Corporation in September 2023


Coastal Technologies Corporation (CTC)’s mission is to deliver the most cutting-edge, effective technology designed to provide protection in place and mitigation tools by remediating polluted waters and creating habitat.

The Stardust Startups grant will go towards proving the efficacy of one of CTC’s most promising technologies, the Oyster Stacks System. These devices will be deployed in the waters of Carteret County to build oyster reefs in a way designed to prevent the predation and other difficulties that plague current reef building methods.


Carteret County


September 2023


$3K towards 20 test devices

the current situation

The majority of Carteret County is concentrated at the coast, and this area is suffering significant coastal erosion. With the majority of inland land being owned by private enterprise, these communities are stuck at the forefront of this issue, with nowhere to go.

the solution

Oyster reefs can play a substantial role in stabilizing coastlines by building protective physical structure and reducing erosion. CTC’s Oyster Stacks™ are physical structures that absorb wave energy and promote sediment deposition, and a field of them could provide significant protection against land loss.

lasting impact

Here are the benefits of installing Oyster Stacks™.

cleaner water

Each individual Oyster Stacks™ device creates about 8 feet of total surface area. A single Eastern Oyster (which is the type grown in coastal waters of Carteret County) can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day. If there are on average 23 oysters per foot, this means a single device can facilitate the filtration of 9,200 gallons of water every single day.

thriving reefs

Eastern Oysters are considered “reef builders” due to their ability to colonize the shells of pre-existing oysters, and as a result are capable of creating massive, complex structures which grow continuously. CTC’s Oyster Stacks™ can therefore grow into large, permanent, interconnected reefs that encompass the entire water column.

reduced erosion

These reefs serve as a formidable barrier for coastal communities, even building new land through sediment accretion. The plate design facilitates this process far better than other artificial oyster reefs, which rest on the seafloor. Aside from the hypoxia, predation, and subsidence problems inherent in this strategy, seafloor-locked oyster reefs are also far less effective at forming protective barriers to coastal erosion.

protected communities

These devices can be installed in staggered patterns along coastlines such that they work together to form an extensive barrier parallel to the coastline. Communities can be protected from land loss while reaping the myriad ecological benefits provided by a thriving oyster reef.

sustainability and growth

The effectiveness of this product in combating erosion does not diminish over time, but instead increases in effectiveness with each passing year.

how it works

CTC’s Oyster Stacks™ system is installed by use of a top-bolt to drive its stainless steel coil armature into sediment. Stone plates and spacers are then stacked onto the armature.

The plates function as oyster spat collectors and habitat. The devices—made of stainless steel, natural stone, and bamboo—are easily installed and can be removed or repositioned and reused. No plastics are used in the device.

the ctc story

Coastal Technologies Corporation was founded in 2020 by George and Nick Thatos.

George Thatos

co-founder & head of design

Nicholas Thatos

co-founder & CEO

Starting up during COVID

In 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing, Nick Thatos’s restaurant construction business was slowing down. With his son George back in New York City after securing his environmental degrees from Tulane University, Nick and George resurrected ideas they long had for coastal resilience and restoration technologies, and CTC was born.

Innovative design

The innovative design philosophies developed at CTC have birthed a wide range of products for various coastal resilience and restoration needs. Using a coiling anchoring system allows devices to be rooted stably into sediments that would otherwise be destructive and expensive. This concept has been applied to CTC’s Oyster Stacks system to great effect. The devices position the reef habitat above the seafloor, protecting young oysters from the many dangers that routinely cause other reef methods to fail. 

Pilot projects

As of August 2023, CTC has engaged in three pilot projects. One in coastal Louisiana, and two on the north shore of Long Island. The project in Louisiana involved healing a 200 foot stretch of shoreline that was severely damaged by Hurricane Ida in 2021. Additionally, in fall of 2021, CTC stabilized a stretch of eroding sand cliff in the historical Sands Point Preserve. The third pilot involved the oyster reef system, and involved test devices which were installed in partnership with the Cornell University Cooperative Extension, in their oyster reef testing site located in Huntington Bay, Long Island.

Our support

The $3,000 Stardust Startups North Carolina (SSNC) microgrant was used to fabricate a set of test pieces to be installed in Carteret County, North Carolina.

Jean from SSNC was instrumental in getting the device pilot tested in Bogue Sound by Carteret Community College’s mariculture program. In addition to photo documentation of the Oyster Stacks, she orchestrated connections between CTC’s team and the mariculture program as well as the research teams at North Carolina Coastal Federation. 

The pilot test provided confirmation of the efficacy of the Oyster Stacks, and modifications were made to enhance durability in sound’s high wave/high intensity waters. Twenty permanent devices will be deployed at the North Carolina Coastal Federation’s Living Shoreline at their Headquarters building (Ocean, NC) by December of 2023.