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A Look at Chesapeake Bay Oyster Restoration

November 01, 2021

It has been a busy year for oyster restoration around the Chesapeake Bay. Here are some snapshots of the restoration process.

A crane is docked next to a pile of oyster shells This recycled oyster shell was used to build an oyster reef in Virginia's Lynnhaven River. Healthy adult oysters on nearby reefs spawn annually, and their offspring will help populate the new reef within a couple of years. Photo: Lynnhaven River Now
A man inside a construction crane moves hard substrate from a barge
The view from inside the crane cockpit as the crane operator moves hard substrate from a barge into the Tred Avon River in Maryland to build an oyster reef. Photo: U.S. Army photo by Christopher Fincham
Several oyster shells with smaller shells attached to them
Spat on shell—juvenile oysters—are grown at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Horn Point Hatchery. Spat are the small shells in this photo that are attached to the bigger shells. There are a handful of spat on each larger shell in this picture. They are created when oyster larvae settle on hard substrate, like these recycled oyster shells. They then grow into oysters, including growing their own shells that are still attached to the original larger shell. This process is how oyster reefs grow. Photo: Horn Point Lab Hatchery
Spat on shell are washed off of a boat through a swinging door
Spat-on-shell—juvenile oysters—are planted in the Tred Avon River by the Oyster Recovery Partnership using a specially outfitted boat. Photo: Oyster Recovery Partnership
A healthy oyster reef
A healthy, restored oyster reef is home to many species, serves as habitat for other species, and helps clean the water. Photo: Oyster Recovery Partnership


Last updated by NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office on September 01, 2023