This Week in the Watershed

 

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Members of the Chesapeake Executive Council and other leaders. Photo by Emmy Nicklin/CBF Staff.

Recently, EPA, CBF, and the Choose Clean Water Coalition have found that while some progress is being made, Bay-wide efforts to reduce pollution are falling short of 2017 milestone goals. 

One of the central tenets that sets the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint apart from past Bay restoration commitments is having two-year milestone assessments. These assessments are not only to hold states accountable for progress but also to reassess what improvements can be made moving forward.

Given all this, while there were some encouraging remarks at Thursday's Chesapeake Bay Executive Council  it will be the actions taken by the states and federal partners that truly save the Bay. And so, we will continue to raise our voices for pollution reduction, holding our leaders accountable for the health of the Bay and our local rivers and streams.

This Week in the Watershed: Executive Council, Urban Trees, and Principals Outside

  • The Chesapeake Bay Executive Council met Thursday at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. This gathering of influential public officials representing Bay-state and federal stakeholders highlighted how the Bay is getting cleaner, but failed to address how we are dangerously behind schedule. (WAMU) Also check out the CBF Twitter feed where we live tweeted the meeting.
  • Recent reports show that oysters are doing well in the Severn River. (Capital Gazette—MD)
  • Water quality and keeping cattle out of streams are deeply interwoven. This best management practice is being encouraged throughout the watershed. (Baltimore Sun—MD)
  • Here at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, we love trees. Beautifying neighborhoods, reducing pollution, and improving water quality, they're simply awesome. It's, therefore, no surprise that we're big fans of the tree love going on in Fredericksburg, VA. (Bay Journal)
  • Immersing school principals and administrators in outdoor environmental education programs is a great way to encourage environmental literacy in our schools. Administrators from Manchester Valley High School in Maryland recently had a great trip to CBF's education facility on Port Isobel. (Carroll County Times—MD)
  • Way to go, Frederick County, MD, for investing heavily in restoration efforts to reduce stormwater runoff. This investment will likely pay for itself and then some. (Frederick News-Post—MD)
  • Former Governor of Pennsylvania Dick Thornburgh eloquently explains the history of Chesapeake Bay restoration and convincingly argues for clear, specific, and measurable restoration goals. (Philly.com—PA)

What's Happening Around the Watershed?

July 25

  • Folks on the Eastern Shore of Virginia are invited to learn about native plant landscaping at an exciting, educational event: "Trees, Bees, and Clean Water: Connecting the Dots." Experts will help attendees learn about the pollinating power of birds, butterflies, and bees, how to landscape to reduce polluted runoff, how to build a rain garden, and more. Space is limited, and registration is required. E-mail Tatum Ford at tford@cbf.org to reserve your spot!
  • Get an in-depth education of one of the most energy-efficient and environmentally friendly buildings in the world by getting a tour of CBF's Brock Environmental Center. Reservations are strongly recommended but not required. Call 757-622-1964 or e-mail BrockCenterGreenTours@cbf.org.

July 28

  • In preparation for stormwater medallion placement on July 30, CBF will be distributing door hangers with information about how citizens can reduce their impact on the waterways! E-mail Blair Blanchette at bblanchette@cbf.org or call 804-780-1392 to participate.

July 30

  • Join CBF as we place stormwater medallions in Oak Grove, Richmond. This unique volunteer opportunity allows you to have a positive impact on the Bay while also using a caulk gun! E-mail Blair Blanchette at bblanchette@cbf.org or call 804-780-1392 to participate.

July 31

  • Another opportunity to get a tour of the Brock Environmental Center. Reservations are strongly recommended but not required. Call 757-622-1964 or e-mail BrockCenterGreenTours@cbf.org.

August 1

  • This annual benefit for CBF draws kayakers, paddle boarders and all kinds of other paddlers—from novice to advanced—from far and wide for a race at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. CBF is looking for five to six volunteers to assist with event/race logistics and share information with the attendees. To volunteer, please e-mail or call Tanner Council at tcouncil@cbf.org or 757-622-1964. To join the races, click here!

—Drew Robinson, CBF's Digital Media Associate


Angler Clean Water Story: The Benefits of Habitat Creation

19052267_25244661_redrelease13As a full-time fly and light tackle fishing guide on the Chesapeake Bay, I find environmental and ecological restoration of the bay vital to the future of my profession. With CBF at the lead, many aspects of water quality in the bay have improved. This is a huge accomplishment considering the stress put on the resource by a large increase in human development in the watershed.

I believe habitat loss is the largest issue hampering the biological carrying capacity of the Chesapeake. Possibly more than 90 percent of the Chesapeake's three-dimensional bottom structure has been lost due to declines in natural oyster reefs and seagrass flats. Anglers can see the effects of habitat loss first hand. I have personally witnessed the disappearance of eelgrass flats. These once productive fishing spots have turned into barren deserts that no longer support biological diversity.

On the other hand, I have seen the positive benefit of habitat restoration projects. The restoration of three-dimensional biological communities through man-made habitat creation is exciting from an angler's perspective. Unproductive two-dimensional bottom is turned into thriving biological communities through projects likes CBF's reef ball program. Anglers are one of the greatest beneficiaries of habitat creation since gamefish are attracted to the variety of forage fish, crabs, shrimp, and worms that 3D habitat supports. One of CBF's reef ball sites has become a reliable fishing stop for me while running fishing charters.

Whether through donations or voluntary participation in CBF reef ball projects, anglers can help turn the tide on habitat loss. It is a win-win for the resource and your fishing experience!

—Chris Newsome, Gloucester, Virginia

As an avid angler, what does the Bay and its rivers and streams mean to you? Share your fishing clean water story or read others here!


Oyster Migration: Fact or Fiction?


ShellyOyster Shelly is on the move! After vacationing in the Caribbean Sea for the winter, she, along with the osprey, have come back home to the Chesapeake. We've been tracking Oysters Shelly, Rocky, and Pearl throughout their migration. Check it out . . .

APRIL FOOLS!!! While we know our favorite Chesapeake critters don't go far, there is actually a period of about three weeks when oyster larvae can indeed move around. As Dr. Elizabeth North, Associate Professor at the Horn Point Laboratory of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science says: 

"Although adult oysters remain fixed in one location, their eggs and larvae spend ~3 weeks as free-swimming plankton in the water column. During this planktonic stage, the young oysters pass through different stages of development, growing from fertilized eggs, to trocophores, to veligers, and finally to pediveligers. The pediveliger stage is the stage at which larvae search for suitable substrate to which they cement themselves, leaving the water column and becoming fixed on the bottom. This "settlement" of the larvae signals the end of the larval dispersal stage and the beginning of the juvenile stage. A suite of physical and biological factors influence larval dispersal and subsequent oyster larvae settlement. Circulation patterns are controlled by tides as well as freshwater flow and wind which can change between years, months, weeks and even days. These patterns, and differences in larval behavior, influence the direction and distance that larvae could be transported and the location where they ultimately settle.

"To predict oyster larval dispersal, we used two numerical models (i.e., computer simulations): a particle-tracking model and a three-dimensional hydrodynamic model of Chesapeake Bay. The coupled bio-physical modeling system has the ability to move particles due to currents velocities and turbulent mixing, and includes algorithms that give the particles "oyster larvae-like" behaviors. We use circulation predictions from five years in order to capture a range of physical conditions that likely influence larval dispersal. In addition, we used the best estimate of suitable present-day oyster habitat (oyster bars) and information from laboratory studies on larval behavior."

Visit Dr. North’s website to see her model of oyster larvae distribution in wet, average, and dry years. Note that she developed these animations seven years ago, when Maryland and Virginia were wrestling with the question of whether to introduce a non-native Asian oyster to the Chesapeake. Dr. North's research played a valuable role in the decision to concentrate restoration efforts on our native Eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica. Thus the Eastern Oyster Animations are the only ones that apply to our Bay today. Remember that female oysters spawn huge numbers of eggs, and that larger oysters, clumped together, send out exponentially larger numbers. Mortality is high, but the more we concentrate their numbers, the faster the stocks increase.

The good news in these simulations is that they give us a flavor of how resilient our oyster can be if we understand its behavior and habitat needs as a species. With intelligent restoration efforts, we can once again rely on its reefs for natural water filtration, rich fish/crab habitat, and succulent seafood. 

John Page Williams, CBF’s Senior Naturalist

Wanna see some real migration? Check out our osprey tracking project! Now those birds travel far—some from as far away as South America! 

 

The Bay Offers Up the Perfect Valentine

101423-1285Photo by Donnie Biggs.

I must be the only person in the entire Chesapeake Bay area who doesn't know how to serve an oyster on the half shell. Butter? Lemon? Old Bay? I'm embarrassed to say I have no idea. But it's time I learn. My husband loves them, and I'm planning to buy a dozen for Valentine's Day.

In this, at least, I am not alone. Oyster sales spike on Valentine's Day alongside chocolate and bubbly. Seafood shops are stocking up, and restaurants are adding the epicurean indulgence to their Saturday night lover's menus.

Kevin McClaren who runs Marinetics, Inc., home of the famous Choptank Sweets oysters, has been hustling since last week to fill all the orders that have come in. He likens the work to a well-coordinated dance. "It's like a ballet," he says, "Taking them out, washing them off, getting them on ice, packing them up. Over and over. All day." A manly ballet, he adds.

Kevin says his business more than doubled this week. Whole Foods alone ordered 6,000. Most of his sales are to local and regional restaurants that will be serving them up roasted, fried, dusted with chocolate, and of course, raw on the half shell.

Long considered an aphrodisiac, the humble oyster was said to have given the 18th Century Venetian playboy, Giacomo Casanova, his swagger. In 2005, Italian researchers claimed they had the proof to turn the myth into a reality. Their work showed that Mediterranean mussels contained two amino acids associated with amorous behavior in animals. In the end, however, mussels are not oysters, and their study subjects were not human. More recently, it's been said that a high concentration of zinc in oysters could induce a romantic response, but one would have to gobble them down in gluttonous quantities more likely to induce vomiting than romance.

Myth or not, oysters remain high on the list of essentials for gastronomic courtship. Behind the seafood counter at Whole Foods in Annapolis, Lamont Jackson expects to shuck nearly 600 of the stony Bay jewels on Saturday. Normally oyster sales hover at around 50 per day. I asked him why he thought so many people bought oysters on Valentine's Day, and his answer was probably the best I'd heard so far: "I think they add something fun to the table."

That's what I'm hoping for when I serve them up tomorrow tonight. After all, it has been scientifically proven that fun is the best recipe for a long, happy marriage.

Kimbra Cutlip, CBF's Senior Multimedia Writer

Learn how we're restoring these beloved creatures of the Chesapeakeand perfect Valentines.


Meet Alina Siira: Coast Guard Reservist, Environmentalist, Oyster gardener

141018-G-PJ006-082Coast Guard photograph by Seaman Chiara Sinclair.

On a sunny, Saturday morning, Petty Officer 3rd Class Alina Siira peered over the side of a dock at the Coast Guard Surface Forces Logistics Center in Baltimore and carefully hoisted up a cage of oysters.

Siira did a visual inspection of the tiny oyster babies, known as spat, attached to old oyster shells inside the cage. After everything checked out, she submerged the cage once again in Arundel Cove.

Now, the electrician's mate with the all-reserve, Mobile Support Unit can add a new job title to her repertoire: CBF oyster gardener.

"It's very, very exciting," Siira said.

The little mollusks are part of efforts with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to help restore the local oyster population.

Oysters levels in the Bay are at a terrible low, Siira said.

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Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Alina Siira, an electrician's mate, checks one of her two oyster cages at the Mobile Support Unit at Coast Guard Surface Forces Logistics Center, Baltimore, Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. Siira placed two oyster cages at the SFLC as part of efforts with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to restore oyster levels in the local waterways. Coast Guard photograph by Seaman Chiara Sinclair.

"Being a part of this program, we're hopefully slowly going to restore it to higher levels," she said. "This is the first time this has been done in the Arundel Cove."

Harvests of native oysters in the Chesapeake Bay are one percent or less of historical levels, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The population has been impacted by factors including harvesting, disease, and changes in water quality, NOAA said.

Oysters are an important part of the ecosystem since they are filter feeders that clean the water and create healthier habitats for marine life, Siira said. One oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day.

The increased oyster population and healthier waterways benefit the Coast Guard and the entire community, she said.

Siira said she knew she wanted to get involved in the volunteer program, but without a dock of her own, she turned to her command.

The support was overwhelming, she said.

With the blessing of the Coast Guard, she put her first two oyster cages out this fall and doesn't plan on stopping there.

"I would love to have oyster cages lined all the way around this campus," she said.

The spat, which are smaller than a fingernail, grow within nine months and then get placed on a protected reef at Fort Carroll in the Patapsco River, south of Baltimore, which runs into the Chesapeake Bay.

The Maryland Department of the Environment warns against eating oysters grown on private piers due to the threat of contamination that could sicken a consumer.

Taking care of the oysters requires a commitment, but Siira said she is happy to do it. As a member of the local community, she takes great pride in being a part of the project and stops by at least once a week to tend to the babies.

When the oysters are feeding from April to November, CBF recommends a gardener shake or tumble them every few days. In the winter, a gardener should ensure ice and weather do not damage the cage.

Siira said each cage can grow about 500 oysters, so gardeners can make a "pretty big impact" in helping restore the population.

Success rate for oyster gardeners is about 90 percent, she said, since the oyster babies in the cage are protected from predators.

Siira is working to get the word out and would like to see more people involved in restoring the oyster population.

"My hope [is] if they live through this year, then I'm going to reach out to the surrounding bases and see if we can have individuals who want to take care of and have their own oyster cage," she said.

Siira said she is looking forward to June, and hopefully reporting back about the "the success of the Arundel Cove oyster babies."

—Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Lisa Ferdinando


Bay Blood

 

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Jacqueline Stomski dreaming of the Bay from far away!

Some kids around here grow up with the Bay in their veins: Boating from Memorial Day to Labor Day; crabbing, fishing, swimming, and tubing all summer long. Their parents grew up here, too—they loved this piece of the world so much that they just couldn't leave.

The Bay might not be the ocean, but it might be something better. It captivates anyone who comes to see it with the mighty trials and tribulations of this delicate ecosystem. A place so rich in history, and we are fortunate enough to call it home.

I've lived here my whole life, but I don't think I can say I quite have Bay Blood. I've never spent my summers on my family's boat, my crabbing experience is limited, in fact I've never picked my own crabs. What I can say though is that whenever I am gone, I miss this sliver of the world desperately.

The first time I felt connected to the Bay was on my first school trip to Echo Hill in elementary school. We collected aquatic organisms to survey the different populations living where the Susquehanna meets the Bay. For the first time, I was on the Bay, in the sun, and I loved it.

At Echo Hill they told us of how when John Smith sailed the Chesapeake, the water was blue and he could see the oysters on the bottom. Looking at the murky waters today, I still struggle to believe that. From that day forward I've dreamed of a blue Bay. 

Jacqueline Stomski, Senior at Annapolis High School and CBF Student Correspondent Spring 2014 

Interested in becoming a student correspondent, documenting life on the Bay and its rivers and streams? Click here to learn more.


Help Grow Oysters, Help Save the Bay

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Photo by Kendall Osborne.

If you live near salt water, there's a fun, simple, and rewarding way you can help restore the Chesapeake Bay: Become a CBF oyster gardener!

Oyster gardeners are citizen volunteers who raise baby oysters in small floats attached to private piers, docks, marina slips, or anywhere with access to salty water. At the end of a year, gardeners return their "crop" of mature oysters to CBF and help place them on protected reefs in nearby rivers and creeks. There, the oysters reproduce, provide homes and food for other Bay creatures, and help filter algae and sediment from Bay waters.

One adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day simply by "eating" what's floating in the water around them. Scientists estimate there were once enough oysters in the Bay to filter the entire quantity of water in the Bay in two or three days. Decimated over the years by overharvesting, disease, and pollution, the Bay's oyster population today is only about 1-2 percent of its historic abundance.

ImageBy raising oysters to put back into the Bay, oyster gardeners are helping restore one of the Bay's keystone species and improving the Bay's natural resiliency. CBF has more than 300 oyster gardening families across Virginia now raising oysters for restoration. Since 1996, CBF and its partners and volunteers have grown or transplanted nearly 6 million oysters and helped build or restock more than 20 oyster reefs. 

"Growing your own oysters is one of the most enjoyable, fascinating ways you can contribute to the recovery of the Chesapeake Bay," said Tanner Council, CBF's Hampton Roads Grassroots Coordinator. "As prolific filterers of Bay waters, oysters are an important player in restoring our waterways. And people of all ages, especially kids, find great enjoyment nurturing these amazing creatures from baby spat to mature oysters."

Starting today, CBF is hosting oyster gardening workshops in several Virginia locations, including Newport News, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Gloucester Point, Kinsale, Deltaville, and Wachapreague, to train new gardeners and provide them each with 1,000 baby seed oysters. Veteran gardeners will also be returning their year-old oysters to the workshops for placing on nearby reefs.

If you'd like to become a CBF oyster gardener, check out the workshop schedule here and register for one near you. Advanced registration for the workshops is required. A $30 donation covers the cost of oyster seed (other materials must be purchased) and includes membership in CBF. Questions? Send an e-mail to cbfoystergardening@cbf.org, or call 757/622-1964. 

—Chuck Epes, CBF's Deputy Director of Media Relations 


Shady Side Elementary School Students Take a Stand for the Bay

 

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Shady Side students planting oysters in the West River. Photo courtesy of Shady Side Elementary

The students at Shady Side Elementary School in southern Anne Arundel County, Maryland are no strangers to the Bay and life on the water. The town of Shady Side is located on a peninsula, surrounded on the north and west by the West River and on the east by the Chesapeake. Many students are children of watermen who still crab, oyster, and fish to make a living. The school sits less than a quarter mile from the water—and CBF's Maryland Oyster Restoration Center.

So, last year, when 5th grade teachers Kimberly McAllister, Molly Tremel, and Jenna Weckel asked their students to "Take a Stand" for a cause, the Bay seemed like the natural choice.

"These students were raised on the water. They're surrounded by it every day and, for many, its health has a direct impact on their lives. The students worked with CBF last year to grow oysters and then planted them in the West River. Meghan Hoffman and the rest of CBF's Maryland Oyster Restoration team really got the kids excited about oysters—and showed them that they can make a difference," said Tremel.

The students were so motivated they wrote letters and hand-delivered them to U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, and U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin urging them to continue funding Bay restoration. But they didn't stop there.

They took it one step further—creating postcards, developing a business plan, and selling the cards to friends, family, and others—to raise money to support the Bay. Their efforts were highly successful. In two years, they've raised nearly $4,000 to help CBF grow and plant more oysters in the Bay!

John Rodenhausen, Maryland Director of Development, was on-hand for this year's check presentation and was able to address the nearly 60 5th graders involved in this project. "As an educator and a fundraiser for CBF, it is moments like this that give me greater confidence that the Chesapeake will be saved, not just in these students' lifetimes, but in mine, too!"

The project has become a staple of the 5th grade experience—and a bit of a competition, too. Weckel explained, "We've already spoken to the incoming class about the project. They're excited and energized by the opportunity to raise more money for CBF than last year's class!"

We all have a role to play in saving the Chesapeake. CBF is grateful to the entire Shady Side Elementary School community, including 5th grade teachers Kimberly McAllister, Molly Tremel, and Jenna Weckel, as well as their students, for their support, ingenuity, and hard work.

Together, we will Save the Bay and its rivers and streams!

Brie Wilson, Donor Communications Manager 

Read more about the Shady Side Elementary School Students' efforts here!


Restoring Iconic Chesapeake Bay Oyster

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Planting oyster reef balls near Tilghman Island in the Chesapeake Bay. Photo by Erika Nortemann.

The following article first appeared in The Virginian-Pilot earlier this month.

Over the past five years, Virginia's oyster harvest has almost quadrupled, and the dockside value of the harvest has increased by 14 percent in the past 10 years. The resurgence is again putting Chesapeake Bay oysters in seafood stores and restaurants around the region, nation and world.

According to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, every $1 the state spends to replenish oyster shells to manage this fishery yields $7 in economic benefits and an increase in jobs.

Despite these impressive results, there is still a long way to go to achieve restoration goals at a much larger scale--a scale that reflects oysters' natural state and that provides us with the important benefits we need from oyster reefs.

Increased harvest numbers and jobs provide indisputable evidence that a partnership of government, conservation, watermen, industry, private and volunteer groups is succeeding in efforts to restore oysters and improve the fishery in several Virginia rivers, including the Great Wicomico River on the Northern Neck, the Piankatank River in the Middle Peninsula and the Lynnhaven and Lafayette Rivers in Hampton Roads.

Restoration at a larger scale will require everyone playing a part, including the expertise and commitment of the oyster industry, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

The Nature Conservancy and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation stand ready to offer ongoing support and experience to meet restoration goals for the iconic Chesapeake Bay oyster.

Over the past 15 years, CBF and its volunteers have grown more than 60 million oysters and placed them on protected reefs and shorelines in Virginia, focusing particularly on the Lafayette and Piankatank rivers.

In the Lafayette alone, the foundation has partnered with the Elizabeth River Project, state agencies and volunteers to collect baseline oyster population data, establish promising restoration areas, and place more than 400 concrete reef balls in the river. A CBF-Elizabeth River Project partnership also has worked to reduce runoff to improve water quality in the Lafayette.

The Nature Conservancy, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, the Corps of Engineers and industry partners are planning oyster reef restoration in the Piankatank River. An important tributary historically for oysters, the Piankatank has been a focus for land and water restoration by the conservancy and others for more than a decade.

This project will initially restore up to 75 acres of reefs, or roughly 60 football fields, setting the stage for additional large-scale oyster restoration in other rivers.

The Nature Conservancy and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation commend the General Assembly for providing $2 million last year to replenish shells on existing reefs and applaud former Gov. Bob McDonnell for proposing another $2 million in the state budget for such efforts in each of the next two years.

We will work with the legislature to support this funding and to provide $1 million to address restoration of new reefs to ensure Virginia can take advantage of federal funds available for this work.

And both the conservancy and the foundation call upon the McAuliffe administration to work with partners and restore oysters and oyster habitat in at least three Virginia tributaries over the next four years.

In addition to being an economic driver and a delicious hors d'oeuvre--whether raw, roasted, fried or stewed--oysters play crucial ecological roles. They and their habitat are at once pollution filters, homes for crabs and rockfish and buffers against storms.

However, oyster numbers remain only a fraction of what they once were because of historic overharvesting, pollution and disease, and the bay has suffered from the loss of the great ecological services oysters can provide.

Virginia is on the cusp of reversing this trend. The state is a leader in facilitating large-scale restoration in partnership with the federal government and the private sector. We applaud the efforts of the diverse groups already working to make oyster restoration a reality.

Michael Lipford, Virginia executive director of the Nature Conservancy, and Ann Jennings, Virginia executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Learn more about CBF's oyster restoration efforts in Virginia.


Oyster Celebration on the Shore!

1185530_10151858889910943_499298392_nPhoto by Karl Willey/CBF Staff.

The Chesapeake's oyster has influenced the economy, community, songs, and stories of the Eastern Shore for centuries, and even though the Bay currently has just 1 percent of its historic oyster population, it remains a part of our lives in immeasurable ways.  

Over the past few years, communities and organizations have rallied together to work on restoring this beloved bivalve to our tidal rivers. From Save our Shell campaigns to CBF oyster gardening, the community has worked together to help bring the oyster back. 

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Photo by Tom Zolper/CBF Staff.
And so on Saturday, October 5, from 1 p.m.–5 p.m., join us for a celebration of these beloved critters at the Bill Burton Fishing Pier in Cambridge, Md. On that Saturday, we will be putting the finishing touches on a new sanctuary reef just off the pier and celebrating a summer of hard work and dedication to oyster restoration.

Our oyster team, on board CBF's oyster boat the Patricia Campbell, will wrap up a summer of restoration work by lowering the final reef balls, seeded with baby oysters or "spat" into the water. This particular project represents a partnership with the fisheries team of Maryland's Department of Natural Resources and Maryland Saltwater Sportfishing Association, and has relied heavily on assistance from committed volunteers.

These oysters will help to clean and filter the waters of the Choptank as it flows towards the Chesapeake Bay. We also hope that the increased diversity of habitat will help attract more of the critters who live on oyster reefs and improve the fishing off the pier. To help keep track of which species of fish live on the reef, Maryland Saltwater Sportfishing Association representatives have been fishing off the pier and recording the number of fish they catch, as well as the species. They will continue to do so after the final reef balls have been placed and record comparisons.

Be sure to join us at this exciting event and take the opportunity to catch CBF's Patricia Campbell in action, see fishing demos, and plant some oysters on the sanctuary reef yourself. Of course, through it all, you will have the opportunity to learn more about this iconic Chesapeake species.  

Bess Trout, CBF's Eastern Shore Grassroots Field Specialist 

557783_10151858901090943_1866436788_nPhoto by Karl Willey/CBF Staff.