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Chesapeake Bay Foundation Works To Restore Oyster Population

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ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — There is a whole lotta shell-shaking going on along the bay these days.  The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is using volunteers to help restore the oyster population. 

Tim Williams has more on their efforts.

It’s a labor of love for the bay, mixed with a lot of hard work.  Members of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, together with community volunteers, are investing sweat equity to replenish the oyster population of the bay.

“There’s a lot of sediment and debris on these oysters, as you can see.  What we’re trying to do is knock that debris off so we can set new oysters onto that original shell,” said Dan Johannes, Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

More than a dozen volunteers are shoveling piles of empty oyster shells and dumping them onto a sifter.  From there, they shake and rattle off the dirt before rolling them into crates.

“What we’re trying to do is clean them off, so we have a surface that’s relatively clean and pristine, so the oyster larvae will have a place to sit on the shell,” said volunteer Lloyd Lewis.

Filling up to 20 crates is the goal; each weighs in at almost a ton.  Still, despite the hard work, volunteers from local businesses don’t mind shelling out their time.

“Being able to have our kids have a future out on the bay. We got to experience that and I think they should, too,” said one volunteer.

“We eat the oyster, we might as well help get them back into the bay as well,” said another.

In the wild, each adult oyster can filter about two gallons of water an hour, which equates to about 50 gallons a day.

The shells are dumped into the bay about once every two weeks so the process is ongoing.

To volunteer or learn more about the restoration project, click here.

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