Oyster Restoration Underway in Harris Creek & Tred Avon River

Boaters beware, sections of Harris Creek and Tred Avon River will be shallower next summer. It’s not Global Warming. The Army Corps of Engineers is making oyster reefs this winter.

On January 13, they started planting 57 acres of reef made up of rock and shell combinations in water that’s six- to nine-feet deep in Harris Creek. Similar work will be underway this winter in Tred Avon River, where they’ll place 24 acres of reef in water that’s nine- to 20-feet deep.

The shell comes from processing plants in the mid-Atlantic region and is permitted to be imported and placed in the river. The rock is quarried in Havre de Grace, Maryland.

Maryland oyster restoration
Placing substrate to aid in oyster restoration (Photo by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Courtesy Photo)

“Oyster restoration is important because oysters provide a number of environmental benefits, including reef habitat that is significant to the Bay ecosystem for animals like blue crabs and fish,” said Angie Sowers, Corps of Engineers biologist. “Additionally, oysters are filter feeders that improve water quality ─ a single adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water in 24 hours.”

It’s a multi-agency project. The Corps constructs reef where none currently exists, then.the Oyster Recovery Project plants oyster spat (baby oysters) grown at the University of Maryland Horn Point Hatchery on the restoration sites. They’ve already surveyed the areas to ensure that they’re not ruining already thriving reefs and that new reefs are built on hard-survace bottoms.

Restoration only takes place in pre-existing oyster sanctuaries created and patrolled by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

For more information, including plans and environmental assessments for the program and construction site maps, visit http://bit.ly/NABoysters.

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