Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Native Oyster is Preferred Approach For Restoration
Northeast Region, April 4, 2009
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The decrease in the native Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) in the Chesapeake Bay can be attributed to three major factors: over-harvesting, disease, and habitat loss. Due to the decrease in native oysters, the states of Maryland and Virginia proposed the introduction of a non-native species of oyster (Crassostrea ariakensis) into the Chesapeake Bay.


In response to this proposal, the U.S. Congress directed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS). A series of alternatives were proposed ranging from taking no action at all, to introducing the non native oysters and discontinuing native oyster restoration.


On April 4, 2009 the federal cooperating agencies including the Service, EPA, and NOAA, the State of Maryland, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers agreed that a native only approach was the preferred alternative. This preferred alternative is consistent with the Service's analysis and recommendations.


The lead and cooperative agencies worked tirelessly to produce a comprehensive, science based document, which has significantly advanced the understanding of the native oyster, enabling groups to move forward in restoring the ecological and economic role that oysters play in the Bay. Given the right implementation plans, enough time, and careful management, the Chesapeake Bay native oyster populations will recover.


For more information, contact

Chris Guy

Chesapeake Bay Field Office


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