PROGRAMS

Marylanders Grow Oysters

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Join The Team Of Oyster Growers On  The Severn River

In 2008, Maryland created the Marylanders Grow Oysters (MGO) program as a means to enlist everyday citizens in the push to repopulate our rivers and the Chesapeake Bay with the Eastern Oyster — nature’s powerhouse water treatment system.

With mature oysters capable of filtering up to 50 gallons of water a day, the Severn River Association joined with the Department of Natural Resources and the Oyster Recovery Partnership to create an army of oyster growers on the Severn River. Our goal is to restore oyster reefs in the Severn River and plant millions, perhaps billions, of oysters in our river and let the oysters go to work.

One day, we’ll have enough oysters to filter the entire river in a month, then a week and maybe one day, every three days — like oysters used to do.

How To Become An Oyster Grower?

It’s easy. Just hang oyster cages full of spat from a pier.

The MGO program is easy. Our partners produce the oyster spat-on-shell every year at the Horn Point Hatchery in Cambridge, Md.  ORP provides the oysters, cages and delivery. Then SRA helps distributed the oyster spat and cages to our team of volunteers who hang their cages from their piers during the winter hatching season (September-May).

Then each year in early June cEach oyster is like a small water-treatment plant, filtering up to 50 gallons of water per day! And, oyster reefs create the structure and habitat for other marine life to thrive, and improve fishing on the river. 

Our team of scientists, watermen, divers and volunteers are replanting oysters all along the river. A major focus for 2018 is to re-establish an oyster reef below Weems Creek near the U.S. Naval Academy Bridge. This location has a firm substrate bottom which oysters can easily attach to and get to work cleaning the river. We plan to continually monitor progress and see how well the oysters are doing. Ultimately, it will take billions of oysters to filter the entire river – from the mouth to the headwaters.

With your support, we can restore one of nature’s hardest working species and let them do what they do best – filter the water so that the Severn and its inhabitants can thrive now and into the future!

For more information: info@severnriver.org

PARTNERS

Severn River Association, Oyster Recovery Partnership, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, University of Maryland’s Horn Point Hatchery, and more than 450 volunteer oyster growers.

GOALS AND OUTCOMES

Program Goal

To raise millions, perhaps billions, of year-old oysters and plant then in the river every year  so the oysters can perform their natural and historic function — to filter the river and help create a resilient reef habitat that sustains oysters, fish and other wildlife.

Currently, through the efforts of SRA’s volunteer oyster growers, the Severn River is home to over 2,000 MGO oyster cages. We’d like to see that number break 3,000 and then hit 5,000!

Program Outcome

  • Enhance conditions for fishing, swimming, crabbing, and other recreational activities.
  • Raise public awareness about the land-river connection.
  • Educate the public about ways to improve the river ecosystem
  • Improve and increase marine life (finfish and shellfish) habitat.