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Oyster Recovery Partnership assists our partners in designing and implementing oyster restoration projects that maximize ecosystem services that oysters can provide. ORP’s mission is to increase the number of oysters in the Chesapeake Bay, and over the years, this has been accomplished by planting oysters in sanctuaries, managed reserves, and public fishing grounds. ORP has an impressive history of restoration; since 1998, 6.7 billion oysters have been planted on over 2,200 acres of oyster habitat in Maryland waters. During that time, refinements to the oyster restoration process allowed ORP and its partners to redefine success from fewer than ten acres of oyster plantings annually in our early years, to the hundreds of acres planted currently. ORP is now assisting with the one of the largest oyster reef restoration projects to occur worldwide in tributaries on the eastern shore of Maryland.
The restoration process is complex and could not be carried out without our partners, who work with ORP to supply oyster larvae, identify areas that will sustain successful reefs, and monitor reefs after construction. Currently, the majority of ORP restoration efforts are directed toward sanctuary reefs, which are areas that are protected and where harvesting does not occur. Sanctuary reefs have the best chance of forming a natural, three-dimensional structure that provides habitat for Chesapeake Bay marine animals and ecosystem services such as water quality improvement.
Click on the links below for more information on the restoration process and our current and past restoration projects.