Oyster Restoration

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Getting the Community Involved

CBF's oyster restoration programs offer citizens the tools and information needed to help restore native oysters, Crassostrea virginica, to the Chesapeake. Until the 1980s, oysters supported the most valuable fishery in the Bay. Today, as a result of decades of pollution, overharvesting, and disease, the Bay's native oyster population has been estimated at as low as one percent of historic levels.

Yet oysters remain a keystone species in the Bay's ecology. They filter algae, sediment, and other pollutants and in the process improve water quality and clarity. Their large reefs provide habitat for fish, crabs, and other Bay organisms. Restoration is critical to help improve the Bay's water quality and increase its economic viability.

See program information below or program links to the left.


Maryland Oyster Gardening Program

CBF's Oyster Gardening Program gives people the opportunity to help bring back this vital species by growing oysters alongside their docks. Once grown, the adult oysters are returned to CBF for planting on sanctuary reefs. READ MORE


Oyster Gardening in the Inner Harbor

In September 2014, CBF and the Waterfront Partnership expanded their oyster restoration program, formally kicking off The Greater Baltimore Oyster Partnership.  Plans for 2014 are to grow 165,00 baby oysters in Baltimore's Inner Harbor with the help of local residents.  Check it out with this video on CoolGreenSchools.com. READ MORE


Save Oyster Shells

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) needs your help—and your oyster shells—to restore native oysters in the Chesapeake Bay. Donate your empty shells to CBF so we can recycle them into more oyster reefs and repopulate the Bay with more oysters.  Oyster shells are literally the foundation of our reef restoration efforts!

Oyster shells are becoming increasingly scarce. Through CBF's Save Oyster Shells program, shells that would typically be thrown away are saved and used in a variety of oyster restoration projects. READ MORE


Shady Side Oyster Restoration Center

In support of re-establishing this keystone species, CBF has established the Maryland Oyster Restoration Center (ORC) in Shady Side. The ORC houses several large tanks used in growing juvenile oysters. It is also home to CBF's restoration vessel Patricia Campbell. This 60-foot boat transports and places hatchery-produced seed oysters onto sanctuary reefs throughout Maryland waters. 

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

Decades of Success: The 1970s

Even as a young organization, our work was effective and got noticed. Find out what we did.

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Founded in 1967, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is the largest independent conservation organization dedicated solely to saving the Bay.

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