By Tim Williams

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — It’s an oyster reef unlike any other in Maryland. For the first time, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation has established an oyster habitat that fishermen and residents can reach out and touch.

Tim Williams has more.

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They are the natural filters of the Chesapeake Bay.

“One adult oyster can filter almost 50 gallons of water a day, so you think of all those millions of oysters and they are just a factory for cleaning the water,” said Tom Zolper, Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

This week, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation dumped nearly 3.5 million baby oysters onto a reef in the Severn River. The Patricia Campbell had a huge bin of shells aboard. Volunteers took them out to the reef site, where they’ll be added to two million existing shells on the bay floor.

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“It’s the first reef that we know of that’s immediately next to a public park. Most oyster reefs are out in a river quite a ways from where people can actually see them or maybe fish on them,” Zolper said.

Over the next few years, the reef is not only expected to draw fishermen but also contribute to what has been a struggling oyster population. Each shell has a baby oyster on board that should grow and mature once it settles. The project will be ongoing.

“First of all, those reefs attract little worms and other aquatic life that the fish then feed on and, of course, the fishermen love the fish as well, so it’s a rich and thriving habitat,” Zolper said.

One that benefits life in and around the bay.

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For more information on the work of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, click here.

Tim Williams