News from the DNR Office of Communications

Citizen Oyster Growing Project Expands To 11 New Rivers

DNR and the Oyster Recovery Partnership Deliver First Batch of Oysters to the Severn River

Annapolis, Md. – The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP) today delivered 250 oyster cages and spat to citizens along the Severn River, the newest participants in the State’s Marylanders Grow Oysters program. The thriving program, launched by Governor Martin O’Malley last year, is expanding to 11 new Chesapeake Bay tributaries this fall.

“I am very pleased that, with the help of a dozen local organizations and through our continuing collaboration with the Oyster Recovery Partnership, we are able to expand build on the success of last year’s citizen-oyster growing program, enabling more Marylanders to play an active role in stewardship of our Bay,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.

Under the program, which is run by DNR with assistance from the ORP, 177 waterfront pier owners in Talbot County tended young oysters in cages along the Tred Avon River over the past 10 months. Those oysters were collected and planted on a sanctuary near Oxford earlier this month.

Over the next few weeks, DNR and the ORP will be working with 12 local organizations that have volunteered to support the program’s expansion by acting as local coordinators. These volunteers will identify waterfront property owners willing to become oyster growers, and deliver oyster cages and young oysters to growers in their respective tributaries.

“The enthusiasm for this initiative is overwhelming,” said Stephan Abel, Executive Director for the Oyster Recovery Partnership. “Public participation for Bay-related restoration, like this one, is critical for our Bay’s long-term recovery.”

The oyster cages for the program are constructed by inmates under the supervision of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

“This program is also providing inmates an opportunity to participate in meaningful work that they are
proud of, giving something back to their fellow Marylanders and the Bay,” added the Governor.

Between Aug 27 and Sep 26, DNR and ORP will be working with the following local organizations in these areas: If members of the media are interested in attending any of these activities, contact Heather Epkins with ORP at (410) 990-4970.

Tributary Local Organization
Magothy River Magothy River Association
Severn Severn River Association
South South River Federation
Patuxent Coastal Conservation Association and Southern MD Oyster Cultivation Society
Wicomico Wicomico Scenic River Commission
St. Mary’s St. Mary’s River Watershed Association
Corsica Corsica River Conservancy
San Domingo Environmental Concern
La Trappe Environmental Concern
Nanticoke ORP and Nanticoke Watershed Association
Annemessex Annemessex Ridge Property Owners Association

Marylanders Grow Oysters
, a program under Governor O’Malley’s Smart, Green & Growing Initiative, Program, is being managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in conjunction with the Oyster Recovery Partnership, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. For more information about Marylanders Grow Oysters visit

Introduced by Governor Martin O’Malley in October 2008, Maryland’s Smart, Green & Growing initiative was created to strengthen the state’s leadership role in fostering smarter, more sustainable growth and inspiring action among all Marylanders to achieve a more sustainable future. The initiative brings together state agencies, local governments, businesses and citizens to create more livable communities, improve transportation options, reduce the state’s carbon footprint, support resource based industry, invest in green technologies, preserve valuable resource lands and restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

   August 27, 2009

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at