Public invited to open house to discuss oyster restoration in the Tred Avon River

Published Oct. 30, 2013
Oyster shells

Oyster shells

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Maryland Department of Natural Resources will host an open house to discuss oyster restoration efforts on the Tred Avon River on Nov. 7 from 3 to 8 p.m. at the NOAA Environmental Science Training Center at the Cooperative Oxford Lab (904 South Morris Street, Oxford, MD 21654).

There is no set agenda; guests may attend for any portion of the time period to learn about the project through a series of informational posters and to speak with representatives from partner agencies about proposed plans for bringing oysters back to the Tred Avon.

“Using scientific analysis and based on high-tech sonar surveys, a draft plan for oyster restoration that describes where and when reefs will be constructed or enhanced has been developed,” said Peyton Robertson, director of the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office. “We want area residents’ input to help refine the details of the plan in response to how people use the river.”

Oysters play a critical role in the Chesapeake Bay because they help filter the water and grow into reefs that provide habitat for other Bay species. But since the turn of the 20th century, oyster populations in the Chesapeake Bay have declined dramatically, largely due to disease, overharvesting, loss of habitat, and degraded water quality; oysters are estimated to be at only 1% of their historic population levels.

“Building and reinvigorating oyster reefs is a major initiative for all of the agencies involved,” said Claire O’Neill, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “We’re eager to restore oyster populations to help foster a healthier Tred Avon River for area residents and visitors.”

In addition to developing highly detailed maps of the Tred Avon river bottom, enhancing historic reefs and building new reefs where appropriate, and planting oysters on those reefs, the project partners are:

·         Monitoring the health of the rivers by deploying observation buoys and other instruments that can track water quality throughout the water column.

·         Researching how fish—including tracking how many and what species—use oyster reefs as habitat, before, during and after oyster restoration projects. This includes funding research to be conducted by academic institutions.

For those unable to attend, or who would prefer to learn about the project on line, all information available at the in-person session will be available at; suggestions and questions can be sent to

Plans for oyster restoration in the Tred Avon will reflect previous research and planning documents, including the U.S. Army Corps’ Native Oyster Restoration Master Plan, Maryland’s work to implement the Oyster Restoration and Aquaculture Development Plan, and federal agencies’ Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

“This exciting project in the Tred Avon will build upon a successful 2013 when the State of Maryland and its partners produced and planted a record 1.25 million baby oysters—helping restore the population, supporting our aquaculture industry and improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay,” said Joseph Gill, secretary, Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Ashley Roberts
Kim Couranz

Release no. 13-036