ST. MARY’S CITY, Md. – The St. Mary’s River Watershed Association has been hard at work protecting, improving, and promoting the health of the St. Mary’s River this summer. We assembled a great working team of seven and had another three people join with us periodically.
Emma Green (SMCM’18) join our team last December and will continue working throughout this coming year. Perennial summer interns Colleen and Jack joined STEM interns Josh Kim and Morgan Watkins, and Tyler Johnson from the Forrest Center Natural Resources Management program.
Our focus, as it has been for the past few years, was oyster restoration in the St. Mary’s River oyster sanctuary.
This summer, we moved beyond the site adjacent to the college and restored an additional 3 acres of historic oyster bars that DNR deemed “ideal” for oyster restoration but were too small for contractual restoration.
We raised three million “spat” (baby oysters) in our shoreside nursery and added them to these sites!
Due to the low oxygen readings at a fourth site, we did not plant there and instead added about 400,000 spat to our oyster restoration site adjacent to the college.
We kept up our reef ball building campaign at five elementary schools, two high schools, the Greenwell Fishing Camps, the Maryland Agricultural Teachers Conference, and of course, at our field site with help from volunteers. We deployed 373 reef balls onto our oyster reef restoration site adjacent to the college. Speaking of volunteers…we engaged 319 volunteers this summer for a total of 893 volunteer hours! All our volunteers learned how important oysters are to the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem and how they can become stewards of our waterways.
“So basically, the oysters were only trying to help us, and we killed them. Now it’s our job to bring them back.” – CPCS sixth-grade student.
Special thanks to Friends of the St. Clements Bay and Southern Maryland Recreational Fishing Organization for their continued support.
As always, a hearty thank you for your continued support and dedication to the St. Mary’s River!
Two BIG Events This Month – Save The Dates
One Million Oysters for Breton Bay and RiverFest – On Saturday, September 10th, Friends of St. Clements Bay, the St. Mary’s River Watershed Association (SMRWA), and ShoreThing Shellfish LLC will be planting one million oysters in the Breton Bay Oyster Sanctuary.
The event will begin at 10:30 am at Abell’s Wharf where 180 bushels of spat-on-shell (baby oysters) will be unloaded from trucks, loaded onto work vessels, and taken out to Lover’s Point and planted. These one million oysters will likely double the existing oyster population at Lover’s Point in Breton Bay. The public is invited to help and/or to cheer along the workers. Learn more.
RiverFest – A Celebration of the St. Mary’s River will take place on September 24 at Historic St. Mary’s City Museum. Live music all day, tall ships, informative displays, touch tanks, tonging, seining, and kayaing all in one place – Admission is FREE. Learn more.
Good work! Bring the oyster reefs back. They used to clean the water by filtering it.
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