Operation Build a Reef: Severn River

Severn Build a Reef postponed until summer 2020

Operation Build-a-Reef Postponed Until 2020

Thank you to everyone who supported Operation Build-a-Reef 2019 and efforts to rebuild oyster populations in the Severn River. The campaign attracted overwhelming support from hundreds of area businesses and residents.

Mother Nature, as always, is unpredictable. Due to record rainfall received throughout the region, work to construct the Severn River reef must be delayed until summer 2020. Oysters require a specific salinity range to spawn. Low salinity levels in the Chesapeake have hindered mature oysters’ reproduction rates and oyster larvae survival up and down the east coast. This has subsequently affected Horn Point Lab oyster hatchery’s ability to produce the 10 million spat-on-shell (baby oysters) designated for the Severn River Build-a-Reef campaign. A July 10, 2019 Bay Journal article explains the issue well, “Oyster hatcheries struggling as lower Bay salinity hampers production.

Three spat - or baby oysters - growing on oyster shellDespite low salinity levels, two independent monitoring efforts confirm that young oysters planted during the 2018 Build-a-Reef campaign are surviving!  While it’s unfortunate that we cannot add more oysters in 2019, it’s a positive sign that that the oysters in the water are enhancing the Severn’s ecosystem!

To everyone who supported Operation Buil-a-Reef 2019, THANK YOU! Your donation has been placed in a dedicated fund and will be used to plant oysters as part of the 2020 Build-a-Reef campaign.

If you have any questions, concerns, or would like more information, please contact Paul Schurick.