Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Oyster Gardening

How does oyster gardening work?

As an oyster gardener, you will receive 1000 baby seed oysters this summer from Chesapeake Bay Foundation. When you receive them, each will be about the size of your thumbnail. You grow these oysters in a mesh bag in a Taylor Float in the Lynnhaven for one year. At the end of that year, each will be between one and three inches in length. Next summer, you will turn them in at an Oyster Roundup. They will be placed on conservation reefs in the Lynnhaven and you will receive a new batch of baby oysters for the coming year.  Click here for a quick video demonstration of the oyster gardening process.

How do I get started?
    1. To get started, you will need a location where you will keep your oysters. That may be at your own dock if you are lucky enough to live on the water or you may ask a friend, neighbor or a marina if you can tie your float to their dock.  If you can not participate in oyster gardening yourself, but would like to offer your dock to someone else, please let us know.

    2. Once you have a location secured, you should request an information packet about oyster gardening for restoration by contacting CBF's office or calling 757-622-1964. This packet includes general information about the Citizen Oyster Gardening program, the need for oyster restoration, the materials required, and a required State Registration Form. (If you are a teacher, contact Laurie Sorabella about Oyster Gardening workshops and opportunities for teachers, or call LRNow at 757-962-5398.)

    3. Build your own Taylor Float or oyster flotation device, or order an assembled Taylor Float through the LRNow office (757-962-5398 or Taylor Floats). $110 to purchase a Taylor Float from LRNow. 

    4. Register & attend a CBF New Citizen Oyster Gardener Workshop to learn about oyster gardening and pick up your new seed oysters. Register here. There is a suggested donation to CBF of $30 per 1,000 oysters.  2014 workshops will be in July and September.

    5. ...Next summer you will turn in your one year old oysters at a Roundup and get your new baby oysters. Please contact our office if you have any questions. This past year, we had over 200 Oyster Gardeners in the Lynnhaven. Let’s see if we can increase that number even more this year!

CBF Oyster Round-Ups
If you have been raising oysters all year, you will return them to the sanctuary reefs and get a new batch of seed oysters next year.  Please plan to attend one of the 2014 Oyster Round-Ups in July or September. All those planning to attend a round-up should RSVP to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

"It doesn't take a green thumb to be an oyster gardener!"

Posted by Trista Imrich, Pearl Homes Coordinator, LRNow

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