A glimpse into a restored Chesapeake oyster reef

Oyster sanctuaries are allowing restored reefs to form clumps of habitat for bay critters

The Paynter Lab at the University of Maryland conducts oyster reef surveys three years after restored reefs are planted with baby oysters, known as spat.

In 2010, Chesapeake Bay Program partners including the Army Corps of Engineers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP) began a large-scale, tributary-based restoration effort to build, seed and monitor oyster reefs.

The 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement calls for oysters to be restored in ten tributaries—five in Maryland and five in Virginia—by 2025.

ORP seeded Harris Creek from 2011 to 2015, mostly with spat from Horn Point Oyster Hatchery in Cambridge, Md., with additional spat from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. A total of roughly 350 acres received two billion oysters, making Harris Creek one of the largest oyster restoration projects in the world.

  • Produced by Will Parson
  • Music/Audio: A.A. Aalto via FreeMusicArchive.org
  • Photography: Norfolk Public Library and New York Public Library
  • Special thanks to The Paynter Lab at the University of Maryland

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