(BALTIMORE, MD)—The Great Baltimore Oyster Partnership, a collaboration between the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore's Healthy Harbor Initiative and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), announced today plans to plant 5 million oysters in Baltimore's Patapsco River by 2020. Each year 150,000 spat (baby oysters) raised in the Inner Harbor will be supplemented by an additional 850,000 spat transported from CBF's Oyster Restoration Center in Shady Side, MD to the Patapsco River via the Maryland Oyster Restoration Vessel Patricia Campbell, CBF's one-of-a-kind oyster restoration vessel.
"Oysters once thrived in the tidal portions of the Patapsco River," said Adam Lindquist, Director of the Healthy Harbor Initiative. "Given the oysters' unique natural ability to filter pollution from the water, this is one of many efforts to restore the health of the Baltimore Harbor so that it can once again be safe for swimming and fishing."
"This is an exciting partnership attracting hundreds of 'gardeners' who raise thousands of oysters and learn about their significant role in creating a healthy harbor ecosystem," said Terry Cummings, Director of CBF's Baltimore Initiative. "It's also part of our effort to engage people, enhance the resource, and restore the Bay."
Volunteers with the Great Baltimore Oyster Partnership grow spat in cages hung off piers at locations throughout the Inner Harbor as well as at the Downtown Sailing Center and Baltimore Marine Centers' Lighthouse Point. In late spring the oysters are "harvested" and transported to the reef at Fort Carroll. This technique ensures a higher survival rate for the spat because the cages protect them from predators and keep them near the surface where there is plenty of food and oxygen.
The Patricia Campbell will transport its first shipment of spat next summer.
First Ever Great Baltimore Oyster Festival
On Saturday, October 24 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., the first ever Great Baltimore Oyster Festival will take place at the Inner Harbor's West Shore Park. The family friendly event will include interactive Chesapeake Bay-themed vendors and displays, oyster boat tours, educational activities and live music by the Eastport Oyster Boys and The High & Wides. Guests will also be able to indulge in an impressive selection of oysters (grilled and raw) raised throughout the Chesapeake Bay.
About the Patricia Campbell
Realizing that restoring Chesapeake Bay oysters requires dedicated efforts, CBF commissioned the restoration vessel, Patricia Campbell, in August 2002. From its homeport at the foundation's Oyster Restoration Center in Shady Side, MD, the 60-foot boat transports and places hatchery-produced seed oysters onto sanctuary reefs throughout Maryland waters. It also carries oyster shell and other materials for reef construction.
About Healthy Harbor
The Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore's Healthy Harbor initiative provides a roadmap for cleaning up Baltimore's Harbor and the waterways leading to the Harbor. A clean Harbor and clean streams will provide opportunities for residents and area families to enjoy clean water in their neighborhoods. Greener and cleaner neighborhoods will make Baltimore City and Baltimore County more livable for all our citizens. For more information on Healthy Harbor, visit www.healthyharbor.org.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is a non-profit organization devoted to the restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay in the United States. It was founded in 1967 and has headquarters in Annapolis, Maryland. For more information on the foundation, visit www.cbf.org.