What is Marylanders Grow Oysters?
Marylanders Grow Oysters is an exciting new project designed to inspire citizens to become Chesapeake Bay stewards by increasing citizen involvement in oyster restoration efforts.
In its initial stage, the program has invited Talbot County waterfront property owners along the Tred Avon River, a tributary of the Choptank River, to grow oysters from their private piers using cages built by inmates at the Eastern Correctional Institution. The project plans to enlist 250 homeowners to place 4 oyster cages each off their piers by the end of October 2008; after a 9 to 12 month growing period, the oysters will be planted on a protected sanctuary in the Tred Avon River.
Because of oysters’ unique filtering abilities and the vital habitat for aquatic life they create, Maryland and its partners continue to enhance and improve large-scale native oyster restoration efforts, including creating and improving structured habitat; planting hatchery produced oysters on existing and historical oyster bars; prohibiting oyster harvest in some areas; and regulating the fishery to limit the number of oysters harvested annually. In 2008 a record 500,000 oyster spat were planted in Maryland/
Established by Governor O’Malley, the Marylanders Grow Oysters project, is a cooperative effort of concerned citizens, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Talbot County, and the Oyster Recovery Partnership. The oyster cages were constructed by inmates under the supervision of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. The Chesapeake Bay Trust provided funding for the initiative.
The partnership plans to expand the program to other tributaries next year.
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