Volunteer collects oysters from below dock

Last week, we had the pleasure of participating in the Chesapeake Bay Oyster Reef Recovery Initiative’s (ORRI) oyster collection and planting in the Tred Avon river – part of the Marylanders Grow Oysters (MGO) program. We – and a cadre of volunteers – arrived around 8 AM to get our collection route assignments, pickup buckets, and head out to collect baby oysters (aka spat-on-shell) from over 320 area homeowners.

Our route took us through beautiful Talbot county to collect oysters from eight different homeowners. These “growers” volunteer space under their docks to nurture¬†spat during their most fragile first year of life. The care was evident – spat grew in every cage. (Waterfront property owners, learn more about how to get involved in MGO in your tributary.)

Oyster shells with spat attached

Our route complete, 11 buckets filled, we set off to deliver the spat to a marina where they would be taken out and planted on a sanctuary in the Tred Avon river. When we arrived at the dock around 11:30 AM, we were very impressed by the number of full buckets already on board – this was only half of the full collection amount! The captain told us he’d go out and plant this boat-full, then return to fill up and do it all over again. That’s a testament to what a committed group of volunteers can do to make a difference in their tributary’s health.

waterman boat full of oysters

Overall, it was a perfect day for collection – beautiful weather to be out on the water. The event was extremely well organized – our hats off to coordinator Julie Ashford of Egelseder Wealth Management, Inc. for a job well done! We look forward to helping again next year.