The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP) has delivered oyster cages and spat at two points along the Magothy River in Anne Arundel County as part of the State’s Marylanders Grow Oysters program. The Magothy River oyster growers, lead by the Magothy River Association, are beginning their second year as participants in the project. The program has expanded by seven new rivers this summer to a total of 19 Chesapeake Bay tributaries.
The distributions cover both the northern and southern shores of the Magothy River. Marylanders Grow Oysters began with one river in Talbot County in 2008. During its second year, a total of 12 rivers were participating.
“Stewardship of a diminished resource such as the Bay’s oyster population is vital for its long-term recovery,” said Stephan Abel, Executive Director for the Oyster Recovery Partnership. “Having Marylanders actively caring for these oysters will increase the public’s awareness and understanding of this keystone species and all that is involved to bring them back. The Bay’s recovery is dependent upon everyone doing their part.”
Under the program, which is run by DNR with assistance from the ORP, more than 1,000 citizens now participate in Marylanders Grow Oysters. Last year the 12 rivers were stocked with spat in 6,123 cages. By the end of October this year, approximately 8,000 cages and spat will have been delivered to new rivers and those already participating.
“To implement the program, the river coordinator is essential,” said Chris Judy, shellfish biologist with DNR’s Fisheries Service. “Without our local coordinators, the program wouldn’t work.”
DNR and the ORP will work with the seven new local coordinators that have volunteered to support the program’s expansion. These volunteers will identify waterfront property owners willing to become oyster growers, and deliver oyster cages and young oysters to growers in their respective tributaries.
The oyster cages for the program are constructed by inmates under the supervision of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. The spat come from University of Maryland Center For Environmental Science Horn Point Laboratory in Cambridge.
DNR and ORP will be working with these new rivers and local organizations:
Tributary Local Organization
Miles River – Environmental Concern
Bodkin Creek – Bodkin Creek Homeowners Association
Chester River – Washington College
Wye River and Cox Creek – Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center
Swan Creek – Gary Zelinski
Harris Creek – Talbot County and Choptank Tributary Team
source: MD DNR