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GALVESTON (AP) — The leader of one Texas county has declared a disaster in an effort to assist oyster farmers struggling following recent heavy rain and flooding.

Galveston County Judge Mark Henry on Tuesday announced the local declaration as a step to help oyster business owners get financial help. A state declaration for Galveston County would be necessary before oyster harvesters could get government disaster assistance.

Henry says oyster harvesters are still recovering from 2008 Hurricane Ike, drought and recent freshwater from storms. Rain and flooding along the Brazos River sent freshwater draining into Galveston Bay, diluting the saltwater needed by oysters.

Henry says a large part of the state’s $30 million oyster industry relies on Galveston Bay.

Henry signed the Galveston County disaster declaration on Saturday.

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