Inspired to be part of the solution, University of Virginia students (left to right) Devin Rowell, Joseph Martin, Katelyn Ditzler, Tara Hotaling, Megan McDaniels,
Hoa Truong, Shutian “Carla” Yang, Meghan O’Melia, John Hernandez, and Rosa Waters spent time at CBF’s Clagett Farm during their 2014 spring break.
Nature is responding, and with our good
news, the community of activists is growing.
For the century before the mid 1980s, the
Bay’s native oyster population served three
critical functions. The first was an environmental one: At their peak, oysters could filter the
volume of water in the entire Bay in just a few
days, keeping the water clear and the habitat
healthy. The second was economic: Oysters
had supported the most valuable fishery in the
Chesapeake Bay. And the third was delectable:
Yum. After a devastating bout with disease in
the mid 1980s combined with decades of
overharvesting, habitat destruction, and water
pollution, the Chesapeake Bay’s native oyster
was hanging on by a thread.
Now, thanks to increased awareness, restoration efforts such as CBF’s citizen oyster-gar-dening program and reef ball production, the
mighty oyster may well be on its way back. In
the 1993/94 season, the oyster harvest was
115,153 bushels; by 2004 it had dropped
precipitously to 50,018; and last year it had
rebounded to 745,000.
Students from the University of Virginia and
the University of Maryland spent their spring
vacations with CBF, making clear their dedica-
tion and passion to make a positive impact.
They planted trees, worked on our oyster
“farm,” spent a day on the water aboard our
112-year-old skipjack, and volunteered at
CBF’s Clagett Farm (shown below) near
Washington, D.C. Back on campus, these stu-
dents wasted no time and are already in con-
versation with local seafood restaurants about
oyster shell recycling, planning a stream
cleanup, and making a #MyBayBlueprint
commitment as part of CBF’s Student Wave
CBF and CBF volunteers have planted over 180 million oysters.