Central Region’s Living Reef Action Campaign
Thank you for sharing our interest in the restoration of one of the Chesapeake Bay’s most valuable native species – the Eastern oyster. As a 501 (C) (3) non-profit organization, CCA Maryland has partnered with the Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP) to facilitate the restoration of oysters in the bay through our CCA Maryland Living Reef Action Campaign. It’s no secret that oysters are suffering in the bay. Numbers still remain around 1% of their historic levels, according to a recent study from the University of Maryland. Our campaign utilizes students and volunteers from within Carroll, Frederick and now Baltimore County that are collecting and recycling natural waste oyster shells from our Counties restaurants, caterers and organizations that host oyster specific events. As we collect the shell, we are fortunate to have the support of Oyster Recovery Partnership in which they pick up our shell and haul them directly to the University of Maryland’s Horn Point Lab Oyster Hatchery in Cambridge, MD.
As collection continues, CCA MD Central Region volunteers and students will be taking the oyster shell and creating a CCA MD community built living reef that will be constructed of mesh bags filled with spat on shell oysters. These mesh bags create a stable, three-dimensional habitat that is conducive to recruitment of juvenile oysters. The mesh bags are laid side-by-side to create a “footprint” which will eventually become a living oyster reef. Each reef is constructed of approximately 100 shell bags and most sites have three reefs within it. Thus 300 bags are generally needed for each site. Each bag holds three-fourths bushel of oyster.
Oyster Larvae, Seed & Shell
CCA Maryland has partnered with The Oyster Recovery Partnership which is working with the University of Maryland’s Horn Point Oyster Lab Hatchery and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to produce and offer high quality, hatchery-produced, oyster larvae and seed. It takes about a month to spawn and grow the microscopic oyster larvae until they are ready to set (or attach) to their host shell. ORP field staff work closely with hatchery crews to set the oyster larvae. Our bagged bushels of aged shell are loaded into 12 foot round tanks. Larvae are added to these tanks and affix themselves to the shell and are then called “spat.”
The resulting spat on shell is transferred to ORP’s planting vessel, the Robert Lee, and transported to the prepared bars for planting. Using GPS to guide the planting, the oysters are deposited onto our CCA Maryland reef site.
On behalf of the Coastal Conservation Association of Maryland’s Central Region Chapter, we thank you for your consideration of supporting our Living Reef Action Campaign here in Carroll County, Central Maryland. Your support will not only help with the recovery of Oysters and the bay’s reef restoration efforts, but will contribute to the overall health of the Chesapeake Bay and to all of Maryland’s fisheries! To find out how you can volunteer to help or if you are with a restaurant or caterer interested in recycling your shell with our Living Reef Action Campaign, please contact us at 410.977.3782