Citizens Working to Enhance Maryland’s Oyster Reefs

oysters being held in someone's hands underwaterWelcome to Marylanders Grow Oysters, where over 1,500 waterfront property owners are growing millions of young oysters in cages suspended from private piers. Their goal? To protect the young oysters during their vulnerable first year of life, so they may be planted on local sanctuaries where the oysters can enrich the ecosystem and the oyster population.

There is no charge to participants, but the rewards – both personal and ecological – are significant. By fostering these young oysters, our citizen partners are also generating an abundance of fish and other aquatic life and creating live bottom, populated by oysters and other creatures, on sanctuaries closed to harvesting.

Marylanders Grow Oysters is managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in conjunction with the Oyster Recovery Partnership, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, and local organizations. Maryland Department of Public Safety and Corrections inmates produce the cages for the program.

bulletOyster Cage Update

This summer, over 2 million oysters will be planted in sanctuary areas by the growers in the Marylanders Grow Oysters Program. Back in September, approximately 7,500 cages were stocked with spat to prepare for this summer's plantings. There are 30 tributaries in the program with over 5,000 people involved to grow oysters to enhance the ecology of the planted sites.

bulletWhere do Marylanders Grow Oysters?

The Marylanders Grow Oysters Program began in 2008 in the Tred Avon River, but is now active in 30 different rivers, creeks, and coves. See if your area is in the program. View a map of all the tributaries.

bulletOur Partners