(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—Alan Girard, Maryland Eastern Shore Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), issued this statement following the announcement today by the Chesapeake Bay Office of N.O.A.A. about the completion of the construction phase of the Harris Creek oyster restoration project:
"CBF is pleased to join our public and private partners in celebrating this major milestone in the project. Over the last three years, citizens, students, and volunteers logged thousands of hours producing baby oysters, or spat, for seeding reefs in Harris Creek. In total, CBF planted over 45 million oyster spat in the tributary.
"Harris Creek should mature into a network of self-sustaining oyster reefs that we hope is the first of many in the Bay. This is a significant step in Maryland's plan to restore what was once a vast underwater food factory and water filtering system. Everyone will benefit from that restoration, from those who value the Bay for its vitality and beauty, to those who depend on it for their living: watermen, food processors, and others.
"Tributaries such as Harris Creek that are restored with high densities of oysters can dramatically increase natural reproduction. Oysters at these densities can produce up to 250 times more oyster larvae than oysters on a typical bar. Since oyster larvae drift with the tides for weeks before settling down as spat, the Harris Creek sanctuary will serve as a reproductive engine, with the potential to repopulate wide areas outside the creek, including many oyster bars that are open to harvest."
Editors note: For the public who wants more information on the Harris Creek project, on November 18, CBF is hosting an Oyster Expo at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center in Easton to celebrate the success of the project, and to educate the public about the work that is happening to steward oysters in the Bay. For more information, contact Alan Girard at 410-543-1999 or firstname.lastname@example.org.