When Captain John Smith first explored the Chesapeake in 1608, the Bay was known for its oysters. In Algonquin, Chesapeake literally means "great shellfish Bay." But the magnitude of the Bay's oyster population has dropped precipitously since the days when Smith wrote that oysters "lay thick as stones." It's estimated the Bay has lost more than 98 percent of its oysters.
Restoring the Bay's native oyster population is critical to saving the Bay. A keystone species, oysters filter water and provide essential habitat for other important Bay species. And this week, a Virginia river became one of the great success stories of Chesapeake Bay restoration. After many years of dedication and investment, the Lafayette is now restored for its oyster restoration goals, making it the very first river in Virginia to achieve this milestone!
Beyond just the oysters, our surveys have found an amazing variety of life in the river near these reefs, from common species like blue crabs and spot to unusual critters like squid, sea robins, and mantis shrimp. This is a wonderful turnaround for a once-polluted urban river. Such efforts are moving the needle for the Chesapeake Oyster Alliance, a multi-partner effort to put 10 billion new oysters into the Bay by 2025.
With continued investment and support, more oyster success stories like the Lafayette are to come, and with it, a cleaner, healthier Chesapeake Bay.
Learn more about oysters and their role in the Bay:
This Week in the Watershed: Farm-to-Table, Family Legacy, and a Virginia Pearl
- Following significant and repeated environmental violations at Fones Cliffs, the Virginia Attorney General is suing Virginia True Corp. (Suffolk News Herald—VA) BONUS: CBF Press Release
- Burgers and Brews for the Bay is back! Enjoy this true farm-to-table event on CBF's Clagett Farm, where local, sustainable agriculture is highlighted. (WJZ—MD) BONUS: Get your tickets now!
- Big thanks to Natty Boh for donating $10,000 to CBF as part of the brewer's second-annual Tabs for Crabs program. (WTOP—MD)
- To protect groundwater aquifer sustainability, poultry facilities in Virginia will soon face monthly and yearly withdrawal limits. (Bay Journal)
- CBF and partners gathered for a ceremonial oyster planting in Virginia's Lafayette River to celebrate its restored status for oysters. (Virginian Pilot—VA) BONUS: CBF Press Release
- Northern Virginians, join us for a comprehensive clean water stewardship course this November. (Alexandria News—VA) BONUS: Learn more and register here!
- A family farm is implementing several best practices on their land to improve local water quality, with the help of CBF. (Carroll County Times—MD)
- CBF is hosting the Hampton Roads premiere of James Balog's new film, The Human Element, on October 24. (Southside Daily—VA) BONUS: Register here!
What's Happening Around the Watershed?
- Shady Side, MD: Help grow the Bay's beloved bivalve—the mighty oyster! Join us for a new oyster gardener workshop to receive the supplies and training necessary to grow your own oysters to help restore the oyster population. During the two-hour workshop, you will learn about oyster ecology, the importance of oysters to the Chesapeake Bay, and how to care for your oyster garden. You also will construct four oyster gardening cages that you will use to grow your oysters. Register here!
- Virginia Beach, VA: Join us for a Second Congressional District Candidate Forum on the Forum. The only free forum for Second District candidates, this is a great opportunity to hear from the candidates about their vision for the future of local waterways and their ideas for overcoming the environmental challenges facing our communities. Attendees will also have the chance to submit questions to be asked during the forum. Register here!
- Hopewell, VA: Join us for a walking tour in an urban forest during peak fall leaf season! You'll learn how to ID trees by their leaves, shape, and bark, as well as learn which ones are native and provide habitat for wildlife. You'll also learn the environmental benefits an urban forest provides and how a daily walk in the woods can improve physical and mental health. Register here!
- Annapolis, MD: Help grow the Bay's beloved bivalve—the mighty oyster! Join us for a new oyster gardener workshop to receive the supplies and training necessary to grow your own oysters to help restore the oyster population. During the two-hour workshop, you will learn about oyster ecology, the importance of oysters to the Chesapeake Bay, and how to care for your oyster garden. You will also construct four oyster gardening cages that you will use to grow your oysters. Register here!
- Upper Marlboro, MD: Join us for a fun-filled afternoon with friends, live music, craft-brewed beers, and mouth-watering food created by area chefs using local ingredients at CBF's Burgers and Brews for the Bay. A family friendly event, it features live bluegrass music, hay rides, fish printing, and educational stations. Get your tickets!
- Virginia Beach, VA: CBF is proud to present the Hampton Roads premiere of National Geographic photographer James Balog's documentary The Human Element. From the producers of Chasing Ice, The Cove, and Racing Extinction, this new film highlights the dangers of the elements, including air, earth, fire, water, and the fifth element—human impact. Immediately following the viewing, a community conversation on sea-level rise and climate change will take place with James Balog and CBF President Will Baker. This is a free event, but registration is required. Register here!
- Easton, MD: Join us for our Chesapeake Book Club, diving into Florence Williams' The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative. Williams takes readers on an adventure around the world investigating the restorative benefits of nature. Learn more here!
- Annapolis, MD: Join us for a very special evening as author Earl Swift joins us with two prominent lifetime Tangier residents and watermen, Cook Cannon and Ooker Eskridge, for a discussion moderated by CBF President Will Baker on Tangier's past, present, and tenuous future. Register here!
- Alexandria, VA: Join us for our most in-depth adult education program available to our members and the public. VoiCeS, which stands for Volunteers as Chesapeake Stewards, is a program to reach out to local volunteers and their communities to create a deeper understanding of the Bay and the efforts to restore it. The Northern Virginia VoiCeS class is an intensive multi-week course meeting on weekday evenings: Nov 27, 28, and Dec 4, 6, 11, and 12. Learn more and register here!
Issues in this Post
Fisheries Community Conservation Eastern Oysters Fishing Restoration Water Quality CBF in Maryland CBF in Virginia Eastern Shore Office Federal Affairs Office Hampton Roads Office Maryland Office, Annapolis Pennsylvania Office Virginia Office, Richmond