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The Nature Conservancy and Oyster Recovery Partnership Plant Five Million Oysters in Harris Creek, Tributary to the Chesapeake Bay

The goal is to improve habitat for fish, local water quality and help to rebuild oyster populations in the bay.


BETHESDA, MD | July 26, 2011

Today, The Nature Conservancy and Oyster Recovery Partnership planted five million spat (baby oysters) in a state designated oyster sanctuary within Maryland’s Harris Creek. The goal is to improve habitat for fish, local water quality and help to rebuild oyster populations in the Bay.

“Oysters are a key piece of what makes our Chesapeake Bay so special,” said Mark Bryer, director of the Chesapeake Bay Program for The Nature Conservancy. “Maryland has implemented one of the most progressive plans for restoring native oysters in the world by establishing zones in the Chesapeake Bay for aquaculture, zones for sanctuaries, and the wild caught fishery – by balancing the needs of the local economy and the environment we are able to restore the native species and all their benefits while supporting bay watermen.”

Last summer, The Conservancy and Oyster Recovery Partnership planted over five million spat in an oyster sanctuary in southern Maryland’s Patuxent River.

Chesapeake Bay Oyster Facts:
  • Oyster populations in the Bay are only about 1% of their historic abundance.
  • Small but hard-working oysters filter out tiny algae and organisms and actually clean the water.
  • A century ago Eastern oysters were so abundant they could filter the entire volume of the Bay in less than a week.
  • Oysters build reefs that help stabilize shorelines and create homes for other marine line including striped bass.
  • Oysters are part of a fragile Chesapeake Bay ecosystem that helps contribute $50 billion to the region’s economy.


The Nature Conservancy in Maryland/DC and Virginia are working to restore the Chesapeake Bay by protecting forests and wetlands that help clean water before it enters the Bay, through innovative partnerships with farmers and watermen and by supporting the work of state and federal agencies with practical solutions. To learn more about The Conservancy’s Chesapeake Bay initiative visit: nature.org/maryland.
 


The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.

Contact information

Tom McCann
Associate Director
703-841-5317
tmccann@tnc.org

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