Oyster gardeners sought to help repopulate Chesapeake Bay

Groups want to add more than 10 billion new oysters to the Chesapeake Bay by 2025.

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Lee Gregory Jr. examines oysters to see which ones still need more time to mature. (Justin Belichis/WYDaily)
Lee Gregory Jr. examines oysters to see which ones still need more time to mature. (Justin Belichis/WYDaily)

Two Chesapeake Bay advocacy groups want to add 10 billion oysters to the bay by 2025, but they can’t do it alone.

To help meet that goal, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, in partnership with the Chesapeake Oyster Alliance, will conduct a series of workshops across Hampton Roads in June to teach volunteers how to grow oysters off docks for eventual planting on sanctuary oyster reefs.

“It’s an amazing experience to raise your own tiny baby oysters into big adults,” said Kelly Davis, the Virginia oyster restoration outreach coordinator for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. “You are helping restore an iconic species. These oysters will help create protected reefs that bring back crucial habitat in local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay.”

Oyster gardening involves growing the bivalves in cages that are suspended in water from a dock. Growers raise the oysters, which filter water and provide a habitat for aquatic life, over the course of a year.

After a year, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation places the oysters on a Virginia sanctuary reef near where they were raised.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation seminar will teach oyster-growing basics and provide growers with a growing setup and baby oysters.

The seminars will be held on the following dates in Hampton Roads:

June 7: 6 p.m., Norfolk Yacht & Country Club.

June 9:  9 a.m. , Queens Lake Marina clubhouse, Williamsburg.

June 14:  6 p.m., Dandy Haven Marina, Hampton.

June 16:  9 a.m., Brock Environmental Center, Virginia Beach.

June 19: 6 p.m., Mariners’ Museum, Newport News.

Registration is required, and a $25 donation is suggested to help offset the cost of the program.

Participants can register online at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation website or by calling 757-644-4125 or e-mailing OysterGardener@cbf.org.

 

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