OYSTERS ARE COMING TO THE SEVERN
The State of Maryland selected the Severn River as a sanctuary for oysters and initiated efforts to grow and plant many oyster beds to filter the water of the River and improve water quality. The Marylanders Grow Oysters (MGO) Program was launched by the Governor in 2009 (see http://www.oysters.maryland.gov/) and the Department of Natural Resources Shellfish Program selected the Severn River Association to lead the MGO Program on the Severn River.
MGO starts with you, if you live on the Severn and have a dock or access to one. DNR will provide, FOR FREE, small cages with oyster spat on shell to be placed under docks for a year. We need many volunteers to become Oyster Growers, who will share their underwater dock space with these oyster spat, look after them for a year, and then give them back for planting on oyster reefs in the Severn.
In 2010 the SRA worked with the DNR and the Army Corps of Engineers to select a location in the Severn River suitable to plant the oysters raised by our growers. The COE had laid down substrate in several areas between the Routes 50 and 450 bridges. One of these was designated the SRA Oyster Sanctuary, and DNR helped us mark the location. The first planting was held June 5, 2010 when over 20 boats arrived with oyster spat and volunteers placed them on the Sanctuary. The second year’s crop was planted in June 2011, and we’ve initiated a monitoring effort to learn how well our oysters are growing.
SRA continues to welcome new volunteer growers to nurture the spat through their first year, and then plant them on the Sanctuary. Please read the Oyster Grower Invitation which describes the program in more detail, and the Guideline for Caring for Your Oysters, and then contact SRA to volunteer by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or leaving a message at 443-569-3556.
(Revised July 2012)