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Passport to Nature

Barging into the Bay — with Oysters

Shells collected from D.C.- and Maryland-area restaurants are cleaned at Horn Point Oyster Hatchery.

At Horn Point, baby oysters (spat) are harvested from native Chesapeake Bay oysters by the millions to be implanted on the recycled shells.

Millions of spat circulate through submerged cages and attach to the clean shells.

Over a sanctuary in Harris Creek, this barge prepares to unload its spat-on-shell cargo.

Hoses wash shells and spat into the creek to build a new reef and create habitat for rockfish, crabs and other life.

Stephan Abel, executive director of Oyster Recovery Partnership, shows us a clump of oysters and a map of the sanctuary.

The Conservancy’s Mark Bryer (center) examines wild oysters with the crew.

We counted over a dozen new oysters growing on this one sample from a reef planted two years earlier.

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