Magothy, Severn and South Rivers
In a September 5, 2018 press release, the department announced the intention to study and survey existing state oyster sanctuaries in Anne Arundel County, including the Severn River Sanctuary and to work with the local watershed associations to maximize the restoration potential in the tributaries (MD Department of Natural Resources 2018). Here is the restoration plan.
The Magothy River sanctuary has seven historic oyster bars within its boundaries, Sillery Bay, Peach Hill, Welch, Persimmon, Black, Umphasis and Park. Of these, three have received substrate material, Park, Umphasis and Persimmon. Two other reefs, Dobbin Hill and Chest Neck were constructed and have received substrate material. The five reefs that have received substrate are the only areas that will support spat-on-shell restoration without the addition of substrate. Leases for private aquaculture occur within this tributary. No oyster projects will be conducted on these sites.
DNR plans to plant spat-on-shell on 3.1 acres in the Magothy River Sanctuary in 2023.
The Severn River Sanctuary has twenty-seven historic oyster bars within the sanctuary boundaries. Based on the volume of surface shell volume from the 2012 patent tong survey, and areas that have alternate substrate there are six reefs that have bottom habitat that would support spat-on-shell plantings, Traces Hollow, Wade, Weems Upper, Peach Orchard, Chink Point and Tolly Point. Leases for private aquaculture occur within this tributary. No oyster projects will be conducted on these sites.
The Severn River Association and Oyster Recovery Partnership in partnership through the Build-A-Reef initiative and DNR planted millions of spat-on-shell on reefs in the Severn River Sanctuary since 2018. In 2021, the Severn River Association had a diving survey conducted to evaluate the oysters on the reefs that have been planted. Based on the preliminary results of this survey and the plantings that were conducted for the Build-A-Reef initiative, DNR chose reefs on Chinks Point and Tolly Point for planting spat-on-shell in 2022. As part of DNRs small-scale restoration, DNR planted 62.4 million spat-on-shell in the Severn River Sanctuary in 2022. An additional 7.6 million is planned to be planted in 2023.
There are seven historic oyster bars that are in the South River Sanctuary, five of which lie completely within the boundary (Rough Point, Beard Point, Duvall, Aberdeen and
Almshouse) and two which are partially within the sanctuary (Brewer and Thunder and Lightning). There are three reef areas within the sanctuary that were
constructed by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Little Aberdeen Creek (within Aberdeen Reef), Aberdeen Creek 2 and Edgewater Beach. The area referred to as
Glebe Bay has received seed plantings and is the area where Marylanders Grow Oysters plant their young oysters annually. Based on the patent tong survey conducted by the department in 2014, the only historic oyster bar that has sufficient surface shell volume to support a spat-on-shell planting without adding substrate is Duvall.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is working in conjunction with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center on a Before and After Control Impact study (BACI) on oyster restoration areas in the South River Sanctuary. DNR plans to plant spat-on-shell on 5 acres towards small-scale restoration plantings in 2023.