(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—Allison Colden, Maryland Fisheries Scientist with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, issued this statement following the release today of reports outlining the progress made by Maryland and Virginia in recent years to increase significant acreage of oyster reefs. The reports were issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association Chesapeake Bay Office and the Chesapeake Bay Program:
"At the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, we are proud of the role we've played in helping expand the network of oyster reefs in Harris Creek, Little Choptank, and the Tred Avon River. To date we've planted over 81 million spat-on-shell on those reefs, using our specially designed oyster restoration vessel, the Patricia Campbell.
"Science tells us these restored reefs will boost the recovery of the oyster population. Larvae from the reefs will flow on the tides and currents for miles to help repopulate other reefs where oysters are less dense.
"It's critical that we finish construction of 440 acres of the reef system in the Little Choptank and 147 acres in the Tred Avon River, and plant oysters in sufficient densities to create thriving oyster communities. These concentrated networks of large oysters will be the reproductive engines of the oyster population's recovery.
"Much as we can be pleased with our work so far, we can't stop. Maryland must designate the next two tributaries for large-scale oyster restoration, as Virginia already has done. We must meet our obligations under the Bay Agreement to improve oyster habitat."