Native Oyster Restoration in Maryland and Virginia
An Evaluation of Lessons Learned 1990-2007, A Preliminary Report
Oyster Restoration Evaluation Team
Saddle-stitched, 44 pp., 8.5" wide x 11" tall, UM-SG-TS-2009-02
For decades, natural resource managers, conservation groups, and others have made attempts to restore native oysters to the Chesapeake Bay. These efforts have taken many forms and they have aimed at restoring oysters both for harvest and for the ecological functions that reefs perform.
How successful have these efforts been?
To answer that question first requires carefully documenting precisely what restoration efforts have taken place, and for what purpose. Maryland Sea Grant has helped to assemble an expert team to gather this information. The team is comprised of researchers from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, the University of Maryland College Park, and the University of Florida. Data compilation and database analyses have been provided by experts at Versa, Inc. and at the University of Florida Department of Statistics.
This review of oyster restoration practices was initiated and funded by the Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment, the Chesapeake Bay Office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The expert team reached a number of conclusions, most importantly that monitoring and data to date have not been well standardized or recorded, making comparisons among efforts and reefs difficult at best. Often the purposes for a give restoration effort — whether for harvest or for ecological function — were not clear. Even when bars were restored for ecological reasons, there was little concrete data on whether or not harvest had occurred anyway. Similarly, even if bars were designated for commercial harvest, there was no data to indicate whether harvest actually took place during any particular year.
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