Dorchester County Adds Locations to Recycle Oyster Shells

ORP,  Dorchester County, UM Center for Environmental Science Announce New  Locations to Recycle Oyster Shells

Shells Will Provide Homes for New Oysters in the Chesapeake Bay

February 13, 2013 — The Oyster Recovery Partnership, the University of Maryland center for Environmental Science Horn Point Lab and the Dorchester County Recycling Program today announced a partnership to provide four new public collection sites for the recycling of used oyster shells, making Dorchester County the newest member of ORP’s Shell Recycling Alliance — the region’s largest group of restaurants, caterers, whole sellers, citizens and other entities, recycling their used oyster shell to aid in Chesapeake Bay oyster restoration. Each recycled shell can provide homes for 10 new oysters.

“Our community has a long history relating to the harvest of oysters and enjoys the benefits associated with healthy oyster bars and their filtering action,” said Dorchester County Council President, Jay L. Newcomb. “The efforts of the Oyster Recovery Partnership to make oyster shell recycling containers available at our existing recycling centers will provide Dorchester County residents another great opportunity to participate locally in recycling and improve our local environment. Dorchester County is happy that we may be of assistance in this program.”

“The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Horn Point Laboratory is pleased that folks on the Eastern Shore desire to aid in oyster restoration by recycling their used shell,” said Mike Roman, Director, Horn Point Laboratory and Professor. “Our facility is happy to accommodate these requests so that more oysters can be planted in the Chesapeake Bay.”

ORP’s Shell Recycling Alliance has recycled more than 1,200 tons of shell – a limited natural resource necessary for large-scale oyster restoration – since its inception in 2009. However, this amount only provides approximately 15 percent of Maryland’s annual shell needs for oyster recovery efforts currently underway.

“Oyster shell is an extremely limited natural resource that we must recycle as new oysters prefer to attach and grow onto other oyster shells,” said Stephan Abel, Executive Director of the Oyster Recovery Partnership. “We are grateful to Dorchester County for recognizing the critical need for oyster shell as part of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay oyster restoration efforts by providing additional public drop-off sites that will ultimately help us achieve restoration goals.”

ORP, along with its coalition of partners including the University of Maryland’s Horn Point Lab Oyster Hatchery, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Maryland Watermen’s Association and the Army Corps of Engineers, have developed and implemented a large-scale oyster restoration program over the last decade that has resulted in nearly 4 billion oyster spat on shell produced and planted on 1,500 acres. During the 2012 season, this coalition of partners deployed 634 million spat on shell in the Chesapeake Bay and collected over 7.5 million shells that will be recycled to provide future substrate on which new oysters will attach.

“When it comes to restoring the Chesapeake Bay’s oyster population, the importance of partners cannot be underestimated,” said Abel. “Engaging the public to play an active role in our Shell Recycling Alliance can help maintain and protect future restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay.”

Over the last century, the Chesapeake Bay has seen a dramatic decline of its native oyster population. A healthy oyster reef not only filters the Bay’s dirty waters, but also provides crucial habitat for an underwater community that furnishes valuable life support for blue crabs and fish. An adult oyster can filter 50 gallons of water per day. The entire Bay used to be filtered in just days, but now it takes more than a year.

Dorchester County Shell Collection Sites

Beulah Landfill

6815 East New Market Ellwood Road
Hurlock, MD 21643
Hours: Monday–Saturday 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Secretary Transfer Station
5915 Cambridge Road, Route 14
Secretary, MD 21664
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, 8 a.m.–4 p.m.

Golden Hill Transfer Station
3270 Golden Hill Road
Church Creek, MD 21622
Hours: Monday–Wednesday, Friday–Saturday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

University of Maryland Center Environmental Science
Horn Point Lab
2020 Horns Point Road
Cambridge, MD 21613
Hours: Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.