Oyster reefs partial graphic from poster

Oyster reefs provide habitat for many other animals in the Bay. Click for full poster.


The Chesapeake Bay provides food, water, cover, and nesting or nursery areas to more than 3,000 migratory and resident wildlife species. Freshwater tributaries, shallow water, and open water all present unique habitat for the Bay's denizens. One of the most unique is the oyster reef.

Blue crab in widgeon grass. © Jay Fleming/iLCP


The Importance of Habitat

Fostering a healthy habitat—from the hardwood forests of the Appalachian mountains to the saltwater marshes of the Bay—is vital to restoring the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed and the life that depends on it. Read Now


Screen capture: Main Slide - Restoring the "Coral Reefs" of the Chesapeake



Restoring the Coral Reefs of the Chesapeake

This slideshow tells the story of the Chesapeake Bay oyster reefs as experienced by English colonists four hundred years ago. Huge reefs that grew up from the bottom, shell built upon shell over thousands of years. These structures placed the oysters high in the water column where dissolved oxygen was plentiful and currents brought plentiful food. Each year we learn more about how to restore these essential elements in the Chesapeake ecosystem. The presentation closes with suggestions for how to get involved in oyster restoration and how to incorporate restoration reefs into your angling season.


Recreating the Chesapeake's Oyster Reefs

Around the Bay, in places like Virginia's Lafayette River and Maryland's Harris Creek, CBF and our partners are working to reestablish critical oyster reefs. A key element of this effort is placing large concrete reef balls, on which baby oyster "spat" are set, into areas designated as oyster sanctuaries.

On May 6, 2014, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation organized an expedition to investigate the Somerset Oyster Sanctuary restoration site in Tangier Sound, one of three sites designated by the Maryland General Assembly. What researchers discovered about the value of reef balls for oyster restoration was remarkable.

Fish and oysters. Photo by CBF Staff


Chesapeake Fish Love Live Bottom

Capts. Karl Willey and Dan Johannes smiled when they saw the sonar images. After all, they had planted most of those oysters. Their reef hosts a huge variety of critters, including anemones, marine worms, sponges, small crustaceans, and tiny fish. All which attract a variety of predators. Read Now

IMAGE CREDITS: (from top)© Jay Fleming/iLCP,  CBF Staff

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