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Implementation Update: Harris Creek, Little Choptank River, and Tred Avon River:
2015 Choptank Oyster Implementation Update
2014 Choptank Oyster Implementation Update
2013 Oyster Restoration Progress in the Choptank Complex
In order to achieve our oyster restoration goals, the
State of Maryland is following a comprehensive 10-point restoration plan. The
plan is outlined here, with more detail provided for items pertaining directly
to restoration. You may download a slideshow about therestoration plan here. You can view the entire 2010 regulatory package including statements of purpose published in the July 2, 2010 issue of the Maryland register here.
Maryland is implementing
multiple strategies for native oyster restoration using a targeted approach. We
will set goals to maximize ecological benefits, facilitate population recovery,
and create positive outcomes for the commercial oyster fishery. We combine
recent bottom survey data, oyster population surveys, and water quality data with
historical oyster bar locations to help determine the best sites for restoration.
Knowing the average salinity in a tributary allows us to select a restoration
alternative that appropriately addresses disease and recruitment issues at each
site. Although successful recruitment occurs in higher salinities, oysters
there are subject to greater disease pressure. Conversely, oyster populations
in lower salinities are recruitment-limited but benefit from the inability of
disease-causing organisms to flourish there. Many partners, including federal
and state agencies, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions are
involved in completing any one project.
Oyster shell, either new (shucked) or from buried
deposits, is the predominant and preferred cultch for oyster habitat projects
in the Bay. Since 1960, the dominant source of shells for restoration has been
dredged shells from buried deposits in the Upper Bay; however, improving
degraded oyster habitat across large areas will require more shell than is
available from shell deposits. To obtain sufficient cultch for upcoming
restoration projects, Maryland has obtained a permit for the collection and
re-use of previously-planted shell. Initial efforts to recover this material
have not proven cost-effective, however. Also pending is a shell dredge permit
application to obtain up to an additional 5 million bushels of shell from Man o'
Because of the shortage of oyster shell, Maryland is
using alternative substrates to rebuild degraded oyster bars. Currently we are using clam shell, fossil
oyster shell, and granite to provide a firm base for the placement of spat on
shell. These materials have proven effective not just as a base for spat on
shell, but also for the settlement of natural oyster larvae.
In order to meet the demands of an aggressive rehabilitation agenda, a rapidly growing Marylanders Grow Oysters program and a new commercial aquaculture initiative, Maryland must have access to large quantities of disease-free oyster larvae (up to 2 billion per year) for restoration and distribution. To this end, the Maryland DNR has done the following:
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