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Home Grown Oysters Create Underwater Habitat and Improve Water Quality
Northeast Region, June 14, 2011
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Monitoring Hail Cove Living Shoreline, USFWS
Monitoring Hail Cove Living Shoreline, USFWS - Photo Credit: n/a
CBFO Coastal Program Intern with Cage Grown Oysters, USFWS
CBFO Coastal Program Intern with Cage Grown Oysters, USFWS - Photo Credit: n/a
FWS Northeast Regional Director Marvin Moriarty Plants Oysters on Arc of Stone, USFWS
FWS Northeast Regional Director Marvin Moriarty Plants Oysters on Arc of Stone, USFWS - Photo Credit: n/a
Queenstown Commissioners Recognized by DOI Secretary Ken Salazar, USFWS
Queenstown Commissioners Recognized by DOI Secretary Ken Salazar, USFWS - Photo Credit: n/a

On June 14, 2011 caged oysters grown by residents at docks in Queenstown, Maryland were transplanted into Lankford Creek, a tributary to the Chester River. Chesapeake Bay Field Office, Coastal Program biologists assisted residents and partners in this planting by collecting oysters from the cages, transporting oysters and placing them on the sanctuary reef with Queenstown residents.

 

The Chesapeake Bay Field Office's involvement in local oyster planting began in 2009 at Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge as part of the Hail Cove Living Shoreline Project. Biologists partnered with refuge staff, Washington College and the Friends of Eastern Neck to create the Arc of Stone oyster reef just offshore of the Hail Cove Living Shoreline.

 

Biologists later coordinated with Queenstown residents and Washington College to build oyster cages in 2010 and organized their participation in a Chesapeake Bay-wide program called Marylanders Grow Oysters managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

 

The Marylanders Grow Oysters program provides residents with the materials to raise young oysters (spat) in cages during their vulnerable first year of life, so they may be planted on local sanctuaries where the oysters filter water and the reefs restore fish and wildlife habitat.

 

Each cage contains about 80 adult oyster shells covered with 300 to 400 spat. The spat grow from nearly microscopic to about the size of a nickel or quarter before being placed on a reef. The spat are allowed to grow for nine months from September to June.  At the end of nine months the oysters are then collected and planted on reefs.

 

Queenstown's participation with Marylanders Grow Oysters program and Hail Cove oyster restoration continue to demonstrate their stewardship of resources in the Chester River. The Town of Queenstown Commissioners were recognized for their partnership efforts in 2010.

 

The Chester River now has 260 cages growing oysters that could produce 200,000 oysters per year.  The program currently occurs in 24 tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay, with Marylanders growing oysters in more than 8,000 cages.

 

For more information contact:

David Sutherland

410/573-4535

david_sutherland@fws.gov


Contact Info: Kathryn Reshetiloff, 410-573-4582, kathryn_reshetiloff@fws.gov



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