Marylanders Grow
Oysters in the
St. Mary's River

Frequently Asked Questions

Oyster Aquaculture

Md Permit Process

Raising Oysters
at Your Pier

Building 86-Acre
Reef in VA


The Relation of
Sedimentation to
Growth Rate
in St. Mary's River

Oyster Restoration
in St. Mary’s River



Marylanders Grow Oysters
in the St. Mary’s River

The Marylanders Grow Oysters program is designed to foster stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay and create living oyster reef populations in sanctuaries.

In St. Mary's River, ninety citizen volunteers tend to young oysters in wire mesh cages suspended from their piers for the oysters’ first year of life. The oysters require minimal care – mostly rinsing the cages every two weeks. After a year, the oysters will be collected and placed in an oyster sanctuary in the St. Mary’s River.

Oysters are important because they clean the water, are a vital part of the food web, and create living reefs that attract fish and other aquatic species.

Learn more about the program at the Marylanders Grow Oysters web site: www.oysters.maryland.gov   or read our first press release:   June 10, 2009 Press Release - PDF format

Photo captions: Top—Oysters arrive at our warehouse pier by truck.    Left—SMCM student volunteers distribute cages with oyster spat to grower volunteers. Below Right—On arrival the ten-day old spat (baby oysters) are about the diameter of a BB pellet. Bottom Left—This two-week old spat is bigger than my index finger nail. Bottom Center—Numerous two-week old spat are attached to this five-inch long oyster shell. Bottom Right: Eight-week old oysters are beginning to lift away from the shell substrate, and range in size from a 3/4-inch to more than one-inch.


Photo Captions: Below Left—Twelve-week old oysters...the largest at the end of the index finger is about 1 1/4-inch long. Below Center—Three shells with more than twenty twelve-week old spat growing on each one. Below Right—Fourteen-week old oyster stands out on this shell fragment.


Photo Captions: Below Left—Fourteen-week old oysters...about a dozen on this shell.


Nearly 200 grower volunteers at 88 piers are stewarding 600 cages with spat on shell through their vulnerable first year of life. The growers are located throughout the tidal St. Mary's River and tidal tributaries, in Smith Creek, and in St. Jerome's Creek.

Who are the Volunteer Growers?

Steve, Anna, Mary Clare,
    Grace, Elizabeth Mcmahon
    & Cynthia Alksne
Ann & David Allen
Andy & Sandy Anderson
Joe Anderson & Jane Rowe
Sue Ann & Dan Armitage
Philip Barber
Bobbi & Kevin Bell
Becky & Fred Benton
Kara Benton*
Steve & Maurine Bernard
Kara & Steve Bieshelt*
Cheryl & John Blazer
Blu Haven Piers
Dick & Kathy Bos
Pat Bowling
Barbara Bowman & Dan Greene
Larry & Margaret Brabec*
Craig & Bette Bumgarner
Jim & Judy Carr
Dick & Sharon Chadwick
Bill, Ricky, & Adam Chesser*
John Paradis and Lani Clark
Ed & Pat Cole*
Trish Cole & Susan Grier
Sharon & James Cullison*
Fred & Betty Czarra
Michael Davis
Wilson & Roberta Davis
Neal Dieudonne
William Dorsey
Jim Doussard
Larry Drell
Jack Duchesne
Carlos Falcon
George & Janet Fiackos
LeeAnn & Timothy Fillebrown
Judy Fillius & Gary Schubert
Barry Friedman
Bill & Kathryn Fry
John Fulchiron
John & Karen Garner
Will Gates
Ben Gilbert
John Giusti & Sherry Stanley
Bonnie Green
Kathy Grimes
Bob Groat*
Jim & Suzanne Hardin
Gail & John Harmon
Jim Haskell
Larry Haskell
Jerry & Linda Himmelheber
Alan Hinkle
Richard Holden & Susan Nash
Barbara Ives - Ryken HS
Chip & Emily Jackson
Alex Kampf
Bruce & Suellen Keiner
Andy Keppel*
Tara & Bip Kimball
Kathy & Al Lacer
Keith Lavender
Tom & Joan Lawrence
Grace & Steven Leopold
Bob Lewis & Merideth Taylor
David Lewis & Marcia Greenberg
Tom & Amy Magyar
Cathy Ray & Paul Matthai
Jack, Shann & Jarret Mills
Tom & Danielle Moulds
Jean, Patrick, Peter,
    Sydney & Tyler Murphy
Kevin & Teressa Newbold
Jim & Karen Nutter
Judy O'Brein & Kalin Hanson
Reg Overman
Rich & John Paradis
Nick & Cynthia Parker
Cynthia & Michael Pototsky
Tim & Jennifer Raley*
Bill Reed
Liz Reisman
David & Diane Reumont
Scott & Lisa Rickard
Jay Rodgers*
Bob & Barbara Rumpler
Jack & Viki Russell
Lester & Mary Ryan*
Erika Schmidt
Jeff Aksteter & Laura Shaklee
Steve Snyder
Bob & Joan Stammerjohn
Tamara Strouth & Steve Nickle
Bernie Sullivan
Winnie Sullivan
Dane & Karen Swanson
Dan Sweeney
Chris Tanner&Jean Illingworth
Scott Taylor
Charlie Thomas
Reg Townsend
Joe & Leslie Urgo
Dave & Linda Vert
Jackie & Fred Victor
Sally Vincent
Larry & Jeannie Vote*
Adam & Amy Werblow
Bob White
Mike & Nancy Williams
Gary & Linda Williams
Kathy Cummings & Ned Wolfe
*Denotes a volunteer grower for the first year only - 2009-2010.

Growers are asked to count spat and shells with the goal of evalauting the success of the program. From this data, some assessments of mortality rates in differing water quality and geographic locations can be determined. Volunteers can download the report forms, which should be filled out before December 15th, and again in April or May.

Report Form (MSWord format)    |    Report Form (PDF format)

December 22, 2009—A group of people from the St. Mary's River community filed testimony with the State regarding sanctuaries in the St. Mary's River.

Testimony (PDF format)

The Murphys counting spat for the first report, fall 2009. Pictured from left: Peter, Tyler, Patrick, and Sydney.

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St. Mary's River Watershed Association, Inc.
Post Office Box 94
St. Mary's City, MD 20686

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