"Researchers Think Industrious Oysters Could Clean Up Chesapeake"

"Behold the tiny oyster. No, not on the half-shell, with a squirt of lemon, but in its watery habitat, the Choptank River. Out there on a reef with many other oysters, the bivalve is awesome, a janitor that helps remove pollution with incredible efficiency."

"A reef seeded with oysters by the state of Maryland — about 130 oysters per square meter — removed 20 times more nitrogen pollution from stuff such as home lawn and farm fertilizer in one year than a nearby site that had not been seeded, according to a recently released study.

The upshot, said Lisa Kellogg, a researcher for the Virginia Institute of Marine Science who led the four-year study, is that oyster reefs could potentially remove nearly half of nitrogen pollution from that one river on Maryland’s Eastern Shore 'if you took all the areas suitable for restoration and restored them.' A wider restoration could help clean the Chesapeake Bay, where the Choptank and other major rivers drain."

Darryl Fears reports for the Washington Post May 5, 2013.

Source: Wash Post, 05/06/2013