Oyster Recovery Partnership and Restoration Partners Plant 10 Billionth Oyster in the Chesapeake Bay
Governor Hogan, other dignitaries, participate in ceremonial planting
GRASONVILLE, MD, August 20, 2022 – The Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP), along with Maryland oyster restoration partners and watermen, planted the 10 billionth oyster in the Chesapeake Bay, highlighting the environmental and economic value of one of the Bay’s keystone species. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan joined ORP’s leaders and officials from federal and state agencies to watch the planting vessel deploy spat-on-shell on the Hood Reef, a public oyster reef south of Kent Narrows. Hogan led a ceremonial planting to mark the significant 10 billion milestone.
Maryland embraced large-scale oyster plantings as a key component of its Chesapeake Bay restoration strategy, deploying hundreds of millions of juvenile oysters on both sanctuary reefs and public oyster reefs annually. Oysters are beneficial because they filter excess nutrients from the Bay’s waters, provide valuable habitat for other marine species, and boost the state’s commercial seafood industry through annual harvests and oyster aquaculture.
Many partners contributed significant resources and expertise to accomplish the 10 billion milestone. Governor Hogan was joined at the planting by Maryland oyster restoration partners, including Department of Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, Dr. Mike Roman of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Lt. Colonel David Myers of the US Army Corps of Engineers, Stephanie Reynolds Westby, Oyster Restoration Program Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Chesapeake Bay Office, and Ward Slacum, Executive Director of the Oyster Recovery Partnership. Representing Maryland watermen was President of the Talbot Watermen’s Association, Jeff Harrison, Victoria Brown of the Maryland Watermen’s Association, Troy Wilkins of Queen Anne’s County Watermen, and Rob Newberry of the Delmarva Fisheries Association.
“ORP is extremely grateful to our state and federal partners who made the commitment – and invested in serious measures like oyster restoration – to improve the Bay’s health,” said Ward Slacum, Executive Director of ORP. “It’s taken about three decades to get here. We planted half of the 10 billion in the last decade, and we hope to double that in the next ten years. It is only fitting that Governor Hogan be here to mark this exciting accomplishment.”
The Oyster Recovery Partnership is leading the charge to restore the Chesapeake Bay’s native oyster. A true partnership, it combines tradition and science, food and industry, ecology and economy, for a full-circle approach to restoring the health of Maryland’s waterways. Since its inception in 1994, ORP has planted 10 billion oysters on more than 3,000 acres of reef and recycled more than 260,000 bushels of shell, thanks to the support of community, state-wide, and federal partners. From building sanctuary and public fishery reefs to its innovative Shell Recycling Alliance to hands-on volunteering and events, ORP is improving the health of our waterways and making it easier for oysters, crab, fish, and other local marine life to thrive. Learn more at OysterRecovery.org.