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

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

04.03.15 - Good Samaritans help recover lost Tangier oyster cages

04.02.15 - VCU Rice Rivers Center partners with Charlottesville restaurants in oyster restoration program

03.13.15 - The Bay matters

01.04.15 - Ken Cuccinelli's post-politics endeavor: oyster farming

12.17.14 - Dunloggin efforts to improve health of Chesapeake Bay gain national recognition

12.01.14 - CBF fisheries director calls for vertical oyster reefs

11.29.14 - Garden wisely: Save an oyster, save the bay

11.26.14 - Up with oysters

11.22.14 - Virginia is open for oysters

10.22.14 - Volunteers needed to create oyster reef balls

09.19.14 - 165,000 baby oysters are coming to the Inner Harbor in cleanup effort

09.15.14 - Virginia is for (oyster) lovers

09.10.14 - Harbor oyster program expands

09.04.14 - Volunteers needed to grow baby oysters

08.25.14 - OysterFest scheduled for Oct. 25 in St. Michaels

08.07.14 - Diggin' In: Oyster gardeners help save the bay

07.26.14 - Volunteer oyster gardeners wanted to help build Chesapeake Bay sanctuary reefs

07.24.14 - After surviving a year of wild weather, nearly 30,000 oysters are moving out of the Inner Harbor

07.22.14 - Virginia oyster harvest surges to half a million bushels

07.21.14 - Spat Planted in Harris Creek

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