Silt fence to prevent sediment from running into the creek.  Oyster restoration is two fold.  We need to put more oysters back in the bay, but we also need to keep the sediment out of our waterways that will smother them.  We need to control stormwater runoff, slow it down, infiltrate it into the ground.  To many of our creeks and streams are treated as glorified ditches.

Taking the last of our shell for the season out to the lease!  This summer we placed 10,000 bushel of shell on our lease, by hand, one at a time…..

The shell deposits are already a great place for fishing and crabbing!  Placing shell will catch natural spat set and allow us to plant our own spat without it getting buried in soft bottom substrates. 

Albino blue crab.  Or pretty darn close… First one I’ve ever seen like this.

Much of what we do gives back to the environment, growing oysters improves water quality and enhances all other fisheries.  One of our goals is to have as little negative impact on the environment as possible.  We use solar panels to power the pumps and bubblers for our remote setting tanks.

Oyster shell from shuck houses in Virgina is delivered to our property where it ages and any remaining meats are composted.  When the shell is ready we bring it to our lease the hard way.  First it is loaded into totes, then onto the boat and brought to our lease where it is dumped overboard.  Most growers will barge shell directly to their leases.  Our method ensures the shells are properly aged and we can plant them exactly where we want.  By putting clean shell on our lease in the spring we create good oyster habitat and are able to take advantage of Mother Nature’s natural spat set.

Two month old spat on shell.  This is what you want!

We served our first oysters at Morgan Day in Annapolis as part of a presentation opportunity for Morgan State University.  Morgan State operates a small estuarine research center in Calvert County, a large part of which is dedicated to oyster restoration. 

Tonging for oysters.  There are still a few big ones out there. 

Setting tanks are first loaded with clean oyster shells.  Then oyster larvae is added.  The larvae take 2 days to find a home and “set” on the shells.  After a week you can easily see the small baby oysters on each shell.  Oysters at this stage are called spat.  The bags of spat are loaded onto a boat, taken to our lease, and planted overboard to grow to market size.

Not a mirage… even in the Desert.  This photo was taken during my January visit to Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California.  Not a real oyster bar but a pretty popular rock climbing spot.