Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is looking for communities to help raise baby oysters for the 2012 season through the Marylanders Grow Oysters program.
Last year, citizen volunteers raised more than 2 million new oysters that were planted in sanctuaries throughout Maryland waters. The Department is in search of local coordinators willing to organize the program, in additional rivers, creeks and Bay areas. The oysters require minimal care – mostly the rinsing of the cages every two weeks. DNR will provide all of the materials and assist coordinators with planning and implementation.
Citizen oyster growers enjoy the personal rewards of stewardship and learn about oysters while contributing to the enhancement of an oyster reef. The year-old oysters are collected and planted in a local oyster sanctuary, and a new group of young oysters is distributed to participating growers to start the process again.
The Marylanders Grow Oysters began in 2008 as part of the State’s Smart Green and Growing initiative. The program began with about 900 oyster cages, cared for by 170 growers along the Tred Avon River.
With the help of partners, the Marylanders Grow Oysters program currently includes about 8,000 cages. Oyster cages are located in 24 tributaries from the St. Mary’s River to Swan Creek near Rock Hall.
The program is managed by DNR in conjunction with the Oyster Recovery Partnership, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science which produces the majority of the spat (baby oysters), and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
To learn more about Marylanders Grow Oysters go to oysters.maryland.gov, or contact Chris Judy at email@example.com. To take part in program, visit oysters.maryland.gov/pdfs/Oyster_App_Doc.pdf for an application. Applications are due April 30, 2012.
source: MD DNR