"Oyster Wars: Volunteers, Watermen, Vie Over Sanctuaries"

"St. Mary’s watershed group, harvesters debate value of leaving bivalves untouched in ‘mother lode’ of reproduction"

"The shoreline by St. Mary’s College in Southern Maryland is lined with riprap, not unlike developed waterfront elsewhere around the Chesapeake Bay. But closer inspection reveals something striking: A cornucopia of oysters, large and small, fill the crevices between the rocks.

Not far offshore, many more oysters can be seen just below the surface of the clear water, festooning reefs made out of concrete and construction rubble.

'The oysters are thick as can be,' enthused Bob Lewis, executive director of the St. Mary’s River Watershed Association.

The upper St. Mary’s River is an oyster sanctuary. Off limits to harvest pressure, this 1,300-acre area is brimming with bivalves. Lewis’s group has poured countless volunteer hours and $250,000 of donations into building new reefs and seeding them with hatchery-spawned, cage-nurtured baby bivalves."

Timothy B. Wheeler reports for the Bay Journal March 6, 2017.

Source: Bay Journal, 03/08/2017