ORP’s role in oyster restoration

ORP is involved in oyster restoration projects throughout the Chesapeake Bay. Along with our partners, we have planted more than 5 billion oysters on 1,600 acres of oyster reefs and recycled 30,000 bushels of shell to provide homes for new oysters. We work with scientists to learn better ways to grow oysters and restore oyster reefs. We partner with businesses to promote the economic value of oysters and oyster shell recycling. We educate the public in their role in preserving and restoring oysters. We work with lawmakers and regulators to support new ways to encourage oyster restoration.

Over the last decade, ORP and its restoration partners have increased their efficiency, effectiveness and capacity in producing and planting oysters. Currently, ORP has embarked on the largest oyster restoration project ever seen on the East Coast, in Harris Creek — a tributary of the Bay’s Choptank River. This project is focused on rehabilitating hundreds of acres of oyster habitat to population levels last seen decades ago. To learn more about the Harris Creek restoration project, click here. ORP is also part of the Maryland Interagency Oyster Workgroup,which developed the Little Choptank River Oyster Restoration Tributary Plan to guide oyster restoration there. The workgroup is currently developing a Tributary Plan for the Tred Avon River, also in the Choptank River system on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Click below for a summary of plantings in the Chesapeake Bay region:

Millions of Oyster Plantings Per Site 1998-2014

Check out other oyster restoration work around the country.

ORP has facilitated numerous oyster restoration projects around the Chesapeake Bay over the past two decades as part of a coalition of federal and state agencies, nonprofit organizations and academic institutions including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, University of Maryland Horn Point Lab Oyster HatcheryU.S. Army Corps of Engineers Baltimore DistrictMaryland Department of Natural Resources and Maryland Watermen’s Association. ORP staff also supported development of the Harris Creek Oyster Restoration Tributary Plan, which details the restoration site selection process and the reef construction, seeding, and monitoring required to bring Harris Creek in line with the oyster metrics definition of a successfully restored tributary.