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Chesapeake Bay News

Oct
07
2015

Construction complete at Harris Creek oyster reef

Last month, the final load of juvenile oysters was cast into Harris Creek’s 350-acre oyster reef, marking over two billion oysters planted in the sanctuary. One of the largest oyster restoration projects in the world, the reef in Harris Creek—a tributary of Maryland's Choptank River—is the first of ten Chesapeake Bay tributaries needed to fulfill the oyster restoration goals of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.

The oyster boat Robert Lee travels to Harris Creek to deliver three tanks worth of oyster spat to the submerged oyster sanctuary.

The juvenile oysters, known as spat, all came from the University of Maryland's Horn Point Hatchery. Oyster restoration in Harris Creek has been a collaborative effort between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Army Corps of Engineers, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Oyster Recovery Partnership, the Nature Conservancy and other groups, such as the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Scientists will continue to monitor the health of the Harris Creek oysters as they look toward restoring more tributaries of the Chesapeake.

A powerful hose sprays recycled oyster shells laden with spat into the water of Harris Creek. The spat were grown at the University of Maryland’s Horn Point Oyster Hatchery.

We first documented Harris Creek in 2012, when roughly a quarter of the construction and seeding at Harris Creek was complete.

Text and images by Will Parson
Videos by Will Parson and Steve Droter

author
About Will Parson - Will is the Multimedia Specialist for the Chesapeake Bay Program. A native of Bakersfield, California, he acquired an interest in photojournalism while studying ecology and evolution at University of California, San Diego. He pursued stories about water and culture as a graduate student at Ohio University's School of Visual Communication, and as an intern at several newspapers in New England before landing in Maryland.


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