Maryland Department of Natural Resources Bay RestorationPhoto of seeds and a large blue crab
Harness Creek Project
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Coupling Oyster and SAV Restoration in Harness Creek,
South River

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General Information
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Project Highlights

  • August 2007 - 32 bushels of 2-year oysters added to the reef.
  • July 2007 - 67 bushels of  1-year oysters added to the reef.
  • September 2006 - 0.24 million oyster spat added to reef.
  • October 2005 - 0.41 million oyster spat added to reef.

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  • The MD - DNR has undertaken the following goals as part of this Harness Creek Restoration Project:
    Oyster reefs and bay grasses are the two most important habitats in the Chesapeake Bay. Bay Grasses not only improve water quality, they also provide food and shelter for waterfowl, fish and shellfish and protect shorelines from erosion. In addition to providing all of the same ecosystem services as bay grass beds, oyster reefs also filter algae and sediments from the water column. Algae and sediment clouding the water column, and blocking light from penetrating the water column is a major cause of decline in bay grass populations. It is hypothesized that if the Chesapeake Bay Oyster Restoration Goals set forth in the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement are met, that increased numbers of oysters could remove enough suspended material (algae and sediments) from the water column to increase light penetration to the bottom, a critical step for bay grass survival and resurgence. The objective of the project is to demonstrate the effectiveness of native oysters (Crassostrea virginica) in improving water quality specifically to support bay grass restoration, growth and survival. Existing oyster reefs in Harness Creek, South River, Maryland, will be augmented with additional oyster spat to increase the filtering capacity of the oyster reef. Once these enlarged oyster reefs provide significant increases in water quality, bay grass restoration plantings will take place inshore of the oyster reef.
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