Restoration Process

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The Oyster Recovery Partnership works with state and federal agencies, scientists, commercial fishers and other non-profits toward the common goal of oyster reef restoration.

Step 1: Bottom mapping, patent tong, and SCUBA diver surveys are conducted by NOAA, Maryland Geological Survey, Versar Inc. and University of Maryland on historic oyster bars to identify areas that will have the greatest likelihood of survivorship among newly-planted oysters.

Step 2: Oyster larvae are produced by the Horn Point Oyster Hatchery, and settled onto recycled oyster shell provided by ORP shell recycling staff. At this point they are called ‘spat on shell’.

Step 3: Reefs are constructed with spat on shell. In some areas, reefs require materials such as mixed shell or granite to be placed in the area before spat on shell are deployed, which is carried out by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Spat on shell are ‘planted’ using ORP’s planting vessel, the Robert Lee.

Step 4: SCUBA divers from the University of Maryland visually inspect the new reef shortly after it is planted.

Step 5: At regular intervals, ORP and its partners sample the constructed oyster reefs to determine survivorship, growth, disease and additional metrics.