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Oyster Decline

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					                          Oyster
Decline

OVERVIEW:
For
more
than
a
century,
oysters
made
up
one
of
the
Bay's
most

valuable
commercial
fisheries.
The
interaction
of
over‐harvesting,
disease,

sedimentation
and
poor
water
quality
has
since
caused
a
severe
decline
in
their

numbers
throughout
the
Chesapeake.
The
Bay's
native
oyster
population
is
now

estimated
to
be
just
1‐2
percent
of
its
historical
abundance.

The
decline
in
the
Bay's

native
oyster
population
is
often
illustrated
in
terms
of
its
impact
on
water
quality:

In
the
late
19th
century,
the
native
oyster
population
could
filter
a
volume
of
water

equal
to
that
of
the
entire
Bay
every
three
to
four
days;
today's
depleted
population

takes
nearly
a
year
to
filter
the
same
volume.

CONTRIBUTING
FACTORS:

Historic
fishing
practices.

Oyster
diseases
MSX
and

Dermo.

Loss
of
habitat
due
to
pollution
from
excess
nutrients
and
chemical

contaminants.

Sedimentation
from
removal
of
forests
and
runoff
from
development

and
agricultural
lands.

Natural
predators,
such
as
flatworms
and
cownose
rays.



ENVIRONMENTAL
PROBLEM:

The
decline
of
oysters
removed
a
major
source
of

filtration
from
bay
waters,
causing
increasingly
murky
and
unhealthy
water
for

humans
and
animals.





                                                                             

DISCUSSION
QUESTIONS:


Who/What
does
this
issue
affect?

Draw
a
web
with
“Oyster
Decline”
in
the
middle.



What
are
some
issues
(a
disagreement
about
whether
this
is
a
problem
or
not
or
a

disagreement
about
how
this
problem
can
be
solved)
that
stem
from
this

environmental
problem?

What
are
at
least
three
reasons
oysters
are
beneficial
to
the
Bay?


In
what
ways
are
humans
affected
by
oyster
decline?

How
are
local
agencies
working
to
restore
the
oyster
population?


SOURCES:


Blankenship,
Karl.
“Order
for
improved
habitats
goes
beyond
better
water
quality.”
Bay
Journal.
October
2009.
20
October

2009
<http://www.bayjournal.com/article.cfm?article=3670&print=yes.
Accessed
October
20,
2009>.

Discusses
“critical
living
resources”
as
important
animal
species
not
commonly
mentioned
in
the
Bay
discussion
like

hellbenders,
American
eels,
and
Louisiana
waterthrush.

Talks
about
habitat
improvements
as
the
key
to
Bay
health.




Danes,
Ceri
Larson.
“Living
shoreline
to
be
one‐of‐a‐kind.”
delmarvaNOW.com.
19
October
2009.
20
October
2009

<http://www.delmarvanow.com/article/20091019/NEWS01/910190313/‐1/newsfront2/Living‐shoreline‐to‐be‐one‐of‐a‐
kind>.


Covers
a
project
on
the
eastern
shore
of
Virginia
to
create
a
living
shoreline
using
plants
for
stabilization
instead
of
bulkheads

as
an
example
for
other
cities.





Haviland,
Mark
W..
“USACE
decision
sets
focus
for
Chesapeake
Bay
oyster
restoration”.
US
Army
Corps
of
Engineers
Norfolk

District.
14
August
2009.
20
October
2009
<http://www.army.mil/‐news/2009/08/14/26041‐usace‐decision‐sets‐focus‐for‐
chesapeake‐bay‐oyster‐restoration/>.

Discusses
the
decision
to
not
introduce
non‐native
oyster
to
the
Bay
and
lists
other
options
involved
in
the
Corps
study.





Moore,
Kirk.
“Oyster
beds,
once
the
pearl
of
Shore
fisheries,
poised
to
rebound.”
APP.com.
17
October
2009.
20
October
2009

<http://www.app.com/article/20091017/NEWS/910170314/1004/NEWS01>.

Discusses
the
success
of
New
Jersey
and
Delaware
Bay
oyster
restoration
and
interesting
ideas
to
repeat
in
the
Chesapeake

Bay
like
the
shell
planting
program.





Moorhead,
Jeremy.
“’Waterman’s’
weapon
against
pollution:
Oysters.”
CNN.
2008.
20
October
2009

<http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/04/17/gsif.chesapeake.restoration/index.html>.

Interview
with
an
oyster
farmer
and
Virginia
oyster
and
fishery
scientist
for
the
Chesapeake
Bay
Foundation
on
oyster

sustainability,
efforts
of
oyster
restoration
by
the
CBF,
and
the
importance
of
oysters
in
the
Bay
ecosystem.





“Native
Oysters”.
NOAA
Chesapeake
Bay
Office.
29
February
2008.
20
October
2009

<http://noaa.chesapeakebay.net/NativeOysters.aspx>.

Briefly
covers
the
history
of
the
oyster
fishery,
natural
history
on
the
American
oyster,
and
the
history
of
oyster
restoration

efforts
with
links
to
oyster
management
plans
and
native
oyster
restoration
techniques.




“Oyster
Harvest”.
Chesapeake
Bay
Program.
15
September
2009.
20
October
2009

<http://www.chesapeakebay.net/oysterharvest.aspx?menuitem=14701>.

Explains
why
the
oyster
population
has
declined
and
how
oyster
harvesting
and
poor
water
quality
affects
oysters.






“Oyster
Restoration.”
Chesapeake
Bay
Foundation.
2009.
20
October
2009
<http://www.cbf.org/oysters>.

Great
information
on
restoration
efforts
through
the
Chesapeake
Bay
Foundation’s
oyster
restoration
program
including

oyster
gardening.




Wood,
Pamela.
“State
sets
new
record
for
oyster
restoration.”
HometownAnnapolis.com.
12
October
2009.
20
October
2009

<http://www.hometownannapolis.com/news/top/2009/10/12‐12/State‐sets‐new‐
record‐for‐oyster‐restoration.html>.

Covers
the
success
of
University
of
Maryland
Center
for
Environmental
Science’s
Horn
Point
Lab
in
Cambridge
in
their
oyster

spat
program
including
the
use
of
“reef
balls”
and
volunteer
oyster
gardeners.





				
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