Construction on the “green” Oyster Hatchery Research facility at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington, N.C., has begun, the university announced.

The project is the result of an effort that began in 2006 when the North Carolina Aquarium Division asked Raleigh, N.C.-based architect Frank Harmon to work with the state’s new Oyster Hatchery Program to determine the feasibility for three eco-friendly oyster hatchery facilities along the North Carolina coast.

The state’s three planned future oyster hatchery facilities would help reestablish the state’s oyster population. They would also educate the public on the oyster’s value to the quality of coastal waters.

The 12,000-sq-ft Oyster Hatchery Research facility being built on the Coastal Marine Sciences campus at UNC-Wilmington is the first phase of implementing the study, and is now part of the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries.

Construction should be completed by May.