Feedback requested by COB March 10: Oyster Restoration & Harvest BMP Expert Panel Report

The second report from the Oyster BMP Expert Panel for oyster restoration and harvest practices is now available for review on the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) website. Written feedback is requested by COB Friday, March 10, 2023. Feedback should be submitted via email to Olivia Caretti at oysterBMPresponse @

Representatives from the Panel will host their “roll-out” webinars on Tuesday, February 7 and Tuesday, February 14, 11:00AM-1:00PM to describe the Panel’s recommendations, with time for Q&A. Webinar topics are as follows:

  • February 7, 11:00AM-1:00PM – Oyster BMP Expert Panel Recommendations “Roll-Out” Webinar Part 1: Oyster Reef Enhanced Denitrification Protocols (link to watch:
  • February 14, 11:00AM-1:00PM – Oyster BMP Expert Panel Recommendations “Roll-Out” Webinar Part 2: Oyster Assimilation Protocols (link to watch:

Registration is not required. Any interested parties who expect to review or provide feedback on the report recommendations are strongly encouraged to participate. The webinar will be recorded and uploaded to the calendar for viewing by anyone with schedule conflicts. The calendar entry for the February 7th webinar will also serve as the central location where any new/revised report materials will be uploaded as they become available. Contact Olivia with any questions about the report or webinar.

The tentative timeline is outlined below. The timeline is contingent upon the volume and substance of feedback and the subsequent responses. Any difficulties or requests for extension must be communicated to Olivia to allow for the effective resolution of comments.

Report Context

The Oyster Best Management Practice Expert Panel was convened in September 2015 to evaluate and implement oyster practices as best management practices for reducing nutrient and suspended sediment loads in the Chesapeake Bay. As part of this process, the Panel worked with the EPA to verify that oyster practices could be applied as in-water BMPs under the Clean Water Act. The Panel’s first report was approved in December 2016 and provides recommendations for quantifying reductions in nitrogen and phosphorus through oyster aquaculture practices.

In this new report, the Panel considered an additional 45 oyster practice-reduction effectiveness protocol combinations and developed recommendations for 12 oyster practices and eight reduction effectiveness protocols. The recommendations in this report account for the reduction of nitrogen and phosphorus through (1) assimilation into oyster biomass in harvested oysters and (2) restored oyster reefs, and (3) the process of denitrification associated with restored oyster reefs.

The release of this report serves as the beginning of the review period, comment, and approval process described in the Water Quality Goal Implementation Team’s (WQ GIT) Protocol for the Development, Review, and Approval of Loading and Effectiveness Estimates for Nutrient and Sediment Controls in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Model (BMP Protocol).

The full report and all relevant materials will be posted on the February 7, 2023 CBP calendar entry. There are appendices to the report that are still in development and will be uploaded to the calendar entry as soon as they are available (Technical appendix, Appendix K).

Tentative Timeline for Partnership Review & Approval

  • January 30 – Report posted online, announcements distributed
  • February 7 – Webinar describing Panel recommendations in detail, with time for Q&A. Webinar topic: Recommendations for oyster reef enhanced denitrification protocols
  • February 14 – Webinar describing Panel recommendations in detail, with time for Q&A. Webinar topic: Recommendations for oyster assimilation protocols
  • March 1-2 – Fisheries GIT meeting, present BMP report
  • March 2 – Watershed Technical Workgroup, tentative date to review technical appendix details
  • March 10 – Feedback due by COB to Panel Coordinator, Olivia Caretti (oysterBMPresponse @ The Panel Coordinator and Panel Chair will work with the Panel as needed to compile and respond to comments
  • Mid-April – Release of revised report and summary/compilation of comments and responses. The revised report will be presented for approval following the BMP Protocol. Actual turnaround time will depend on the volume and substance of comments
  • April 6 – Watershed Technical Workgroup, tentative date to seek workgroup approval of revised technical appendix
  • April 24 – WQ GIT, brief on report revisions in response to comments and feedback
  • May 22 – WQ GIT & Fisheries GIT, tentative date to seek joint GIT approval of report

Thank you for your interest and consideration of the Panel’s efforts and recommendations. We welcome constructive feedback to clarify and strengthen the report for the CBP Partnership.