Oyster Restoration Centers

Staff member posts sign on the ORC building in Shady Side. Photo by Beth Lebfevre/CBF Staff

About CBF's Oyster Restoration Centers

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation recognizes that saving the Bay is uniquely tied to restoring the native oyster, Crassostrea virginica. Historically, Chesapeake oysters were the Bay's most valuable fishery. Ecologically, native oysters are equally important: they filter algae, sediment, and other pollutants. Oyster reefs also provide habitat for fish, crabs, and other Bay organisms. The Bay's native oyster population has been estimated at as low as one percent of historic levels, making restoration critical to help improve the Bay’s water quality and increase its economic viability. In support of re-establishing this keystone species, CBF has established three facilities devoted to restoration of Crassostrea virginica.

The R/V Patricia Campbell deploys millions of spat-on-shell in a new area on Cooks Point Sanctuary Reef. Photo © Erika NortemannThe R/V Patricia Campbell deploys millions of spat-on-shell in a new area on Cooks Point Sanctuary Reef. Photo © Erika Norteman

Maryland Oyster Restoration Center

The Maryland Oyster Restoration Center was established in 2002. The Center houses several large tanks for use in producing juvenile oysters, called 'spat.' It is also home to CBF's restoration vessel Patricia Campbell. The 60-foot boat transports and places hatchery-produced seed oysters onto sanctuary reefs throughout Maryland waters and carries oyster shell and other materials for reef construction.

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CBF staffers Tommy Leggett and Jackie Shannon examine oysters from CBFs oyster farm. Photo by CBF StaffCBF staffers examine oysters being raised on CBF's oyster farm. Photo by CBF Staff

Virginia Oyster Restoration Center and Oyster Farm

In support of re-establishing this keystone species, CBF has established the Virginia Oyster Restoration Center (VAORC) in Gloucester Point. The VAORC operates a small scale commercial oyster farm to demonstrate the commercial feasibility of oyster aquaculture to watermen and other entrepreneurs. The VAORC is also the homeport of the innovative oyster restoration vessel Chesapeake Gold, used for the aquaculture program and for assisting partners with restoration and research projects.

We rely very heavily on volunteer help to make our oyster restoration program work and we are always looking for volunteers.

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In the News

11.24.15 - Audio available Is Climate Change a Threat to Oyster Dressing?

11.23.15 - Recycling program aims to repurpose Virginia oyster shells

11.23.15 - Oyster Expo airs fishery woes

11.09.15 - 'Oyster Expo' set for Easton Nov. 18

10.22.15 - Oyster restoration effort underway in Patapsco River

10.22.15 - Baltimore Oyster Partnership to Plant 5 Million Baby Oysters by 2020

10.21.15 - 5 million oysters to be planted in the Patapsco River by 2020

10.20.15 - Saturday: The Great Baltimore Oyster Festival

10.12.15 - Large-scale oyster restoration under way in 6 tributaries

10.06.15 - Harris Creek reef restoration at 350 acres, is largest ever

09.23.15 - Scientists say Maryland's gigantic new oyster reef is a pearl that could save the Chesapeake Bay

09.15.15 - A final oyster planting in Harris Creek

09.13.15 - For Chesapeake Bay Foundation manager, the oyster is her world

07.17.15 - Crews replenishing Wicomico oyster reefs

07.14.15 - Group collects shells in effort to save the Chesapeake Bay

07.13.15 - Corps begin rebuilding Great Wicomico sanctuary reef

06.09.15 - Workshop being held Tuesday for volunteer oyster gardeners

06.03.15 - Video Joe's Job: Oyster Restoration

05.27.15 - Watermen win changes to oyster reef restoration

05.27.15 - Video Thousands of oysters find new home in the Lafayette River

05.27.15 - New law aims to protect oyster farms from poachers

05.22.15 - Train to be an Oyster Farmer

05.14.15 - Oyster restoration continues in Tred Avon

05.12.15 - Scientist to speak on oyster restoration

04.14.15 - Lowly oyster says a lot about health of Chesapeake Bay

04.08.15 - Tuscarora High biology students plan to protect the oysters

04.05.15 - Tangier oystermen thank those who helped them recover lost oyster cages

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