For the past few years Orvis has been proud to partner with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation on their Oyster Restoration project. With decades of overfishing, disease and pollution decimating 99% of the population, reestablishing oysters in the Bay and its watershed would seem to be a herculean task.
We are delighted to share with you a major milestone on the road back to a healthy, clean Chesapeake Bay. The following article by Karl Blankenship appeared in the Bay Journal on October 6th:
Harris Creek was once home to nearly 1,500 acres of Maryland’s best oyster reefs, but in recent decades its oyster population — like those in much of the Bay — had dramatically dwindled.
When biologists surveyed the creek a few years ago, “we barely found an acre that was functioning at what we would consider the historic level,” said Stephanie Westby, oyster project coordinator with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Chesapeake Bay Office.
In fact, only a few hundred thousand oysters remained. With few oysters to rebuild them, the reefs had deteriorated.
In short, Harris Creek looked like much of the rest of the Chesapeake, where oyster numbers are estimated to be at 1 percent or less of their historic abundance.
That was then….