Oyster Restoration in St. Mary’s River
Abstract: Project sought to define pathways toward increasing oyster biomass and commercial harvests in the St. Mary’s River by means of strategic placement and management of farmed and selectively-bred oysters, and measure the results of these efforts. By forming an important cadre of new oyster farmers, we also intended to generate greater citizen demand for stable or improving water quality and more official concern for environmental degradation within a bellwether watershed. More specifically, we assessed the ability of farmed, selectively bred native oysters raised in bags on floats to achieve progress toward Maryland oyster restoration goals relative to wild oyster performance employing traditional oyster-reef methods. We also planned to assess the extent to which impacts of farmed oyster floats on water quality and aquatic biodiversity in the river can be measured. Analysis of data carefully gathered during the year-long duration of the project, and public dissemination of this information, largely achieved these goals.
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Top: Project Coordinator Henry Bush hoists an oyster float on board for one of many periodic surveys. Collage - clockwise from top left: Science Advisor Bob Paul and staff Kevin Boyle survey oyster float on private pier. Close up image depicting diversity of oysetr float community. Bob Paul counts visable animals while Captain Amy Drohan (out of view) records data (smaller animals are identified and counted in the laboratory). Captain Amy Drohan poses in fron of a large and habited osprey nest on private pier.
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