The 2013 oyster restoration season in Maryland has busy from day one. At MD's Oyster Restoration Center we are already on our second 'spat' set in the tanks. The four tanks were filled with spat-on-shell for the first set! The first set totaled over 7 million spat, that is just fantastic! These 4 tanks were overseeded on an exisiting project in the Choptank River at Cooks Point that contains spat-on-shell, as well as spat on reef ball. Stay tuned to see where the next batch of oysters will call home.
Each Spring we ask the volunteers in Maryland's Oyster Gardening Program to return their yearling oysters in May so they can be placed out on a sanctuary reef early in the season. As oyster populations in the Bay continue to improve in health and abundance, we hope to see more spawning (breeding) in Maryland waters. Between May 1st through 5th, volunteers and I helped collect and plant over 100,000 yearling oysters. These oyster were planted in the Severn River, South River, Kent Narrows, Miles River, and Patuxent River. A special thanks to Kevin Green from the South River and Kurt Hein from the Patuxent River for lending their time to help make plantings in their river a sucess. Keep up the good work gardeners!
Oysters are essential to the health of the Chespeake Bay; scientists in Virginia and Maryland recently found that restored oyster reefs in the Chesapeake Bay can absorb up to 10 times more nitrogen than areas of the estuary without healthy reefs. This study provided new evidence that replanting and rebuilding oyster reefs can clean up the nation’s largest estuary, according to the researchers. Take a look here: “Denitrification and Nutrient Assimilation on a Restored Oyster Reef.”
-- Meghan Hoffman (CBF Staff)