Oyster Recovery Partnership Announces New Executive Director


The Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP) today announced that H. Ward Slacum, Jr. has been selected by the board of directors as the organization’s new executive director. Slacum, who has served as ORP’s director of operations since 2014, was selected after a two-month executive search and will assume the responsibilities immediately.

“Ward understands the challenges of large-scale oyster restoration and how to manage the partnerships that make it possible. We’re thrilled that he will oversee ORP’s bright future as the region’s leading restoration organization,” said Jim Perdue, board chairman.

Slacum has a broad background in marine and estuarine science and has been supporting Chesapeake Bay restoration for the past 20 years through research and cooperative programs with local watermen. Since joining the organization, Slacum has spearheaded initiatives to expand ORP’s oyster restoration capabilities, refine approaches to monitor restoration progress and worked with oyster stakeholders to develop incentives to increase oyster production in Chesapeake Bay.  Prior to working at ORP, Slacum managed Versar Inc.’s Coastal Services division providing solutions to environmental compliance requirements for federal and state agencies.  Slacum holds a master’s degree in fisheries science from the University of Maryland’s Marine-Estuarine-Environmental Science Program, and is a life-long resident of the Eastern Shore where resides in Stevensville, Maryland with his wife and daughter.

“I am honored to have been selected to lead the Oyster Recovery Partnership,” said Slacum. “I want to thank ORP’s board, staff and partners for their commitment to our mission, and their continued work to restore the Chesapeake’s once-thriving oyster populations. Together, over the past 25 years, we’ve made tremendous progress and are poised to expand restoration efforts in the coming decade by using technology and integrating oysters from all sectors into the broader mission of Bay clean-up.”

The Oyster Recovery Partnership is an Annapolis-based nonprofit that manages much of the state’s oyster restoration work, including a multi-year strategy to restore oyster populations in five Chesapeake Bay tributaries and replanting public oyster reefs available for commercial harvest. Since being established in 1994, the organization has planted 8.5 billion juvenile oysters in Maryland waters and reclaimed more than 200,000 bushels of oyster shell from its Shell Recycling Alliance.  Additionally, the organization supports Maryland’s fast-growing oyster aquaculture industry and operates a number of community-based oyster projects, including local grass roots Build-a-Reef campaigns and the Marylanders Grow Oysters program.

Slacum will lead ORP’s collaborative efforts to continue large scale oyster restoration, working closely with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, the Maryland Departments of Natural Resources, Transportation, and the Environment, Maryland’s commercial watermen community, the US Environmental Protection Administration, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and a host of other nonprofit organizations, private corporations, and community associations.

For more information on the Oyster Recovery Partnership, visit oysterrecovery.org.

ORP Media Contact: Karis King | 410-990-4970 | [email protected]