With the help of several watermen and volunteers, Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP) staff collected the first batch of oysters grown through Maryland’s citizen oyster growing program from private piers along the Tred Avon River, and planted them on a sanctuary near Oxford.
“I am very pleased at the success of Marylanders Grow Oysters,” said Governor Martin O’Malley, who launched the program last September. “Our citizen stewards in Talbot County have not only done a terrific job giving these baby oysters a head start on life, but they also have been a source of inspiration for other conservation minded Marylanders; this year, we are expanding the program to eleven additional Bay tributaries.”
Under the program, which is run by DNR with assistance from the ORP, 177 waterfront pier owners along the Tred Avon have been tending oyster spat in 858 cages along the Tred Avon since October.
“As people become more concerned about the future of our children and the future of our planet, they become more interested in becoming part of the solution,” said DNR Secretary John Griffin. “Through programs like this one and Marylanders Plant Trees, people are able to contribute to the health of our natural assets, connect with our natural world, and see immediate results.”
With the help of local coordinators, this year’s program will include citizens along the Annemessex, Corsica, Magothy, lower Nanticoke, lower Patuxent, Severn, South, St. Mary’s and Wicomico (Western Shore) Rivers, as well as La Trappe and San Domingo Creeks.
“Whether it’s one million oysters from this program, or the 450 million already planted this year through our state and federal partnerships, every oyster plays a vital role in the recovery of the Chesapeake Bay,” said Stephan Abel, Executive Director of ORP.
The oysters for the program come from the University of Maryland hatchery at Horn Point and the DNR Piney Point hatchery in St. Mary’s County. DNR oversees the project, with the Oyster Recovery Partnership playing a major role in leading both production and distribution. Each river has one or more local coordinators, which are essential to the program, donating their time and energy to advertise, enroll growers, tally contact information, and help distribute oyster cages.
Information on Marylanders Grow Oysters and Marylanders Plant Trees is available at the State’s Smart, Green & Growing website: www.green.maryland.gov.