The Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP) and the Anne Arundel County Recycling Division have announced a partnership to provide three new public collection sites for the recycling of used oyster shells, making Anne Arundel County the newest member of ORP’s Shell Recycling Alliance — the region’s largest group of restaurants, caterers, whole sellers, citizens and other entities, recycling their used oyster shell to aid in Chesapeake Bay oyster restoration. Each recycled shell can provide homes for 10 new oysters.
“Oyster shell is an extremely limited natural resource that we must recycle as new oysters prefer to attach and grow onto other oyster shells,” said Stephan Abel, Executive Director of the Oyster Recovery Partnership. “We are grateful to Anne Arundel County for recognizing the critical need for oyster shell as part of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay oyster restoration efforts by providing additional public drop-off sites that will ultimately help us achieve restoration goals.”
Over the last century, the Chesapeake Bay has seen a dramatic decline of its native oyster population. A healthy oyster reef not only filters the Bay’s dirty waters, but also provides crucial habitat for an underwater community that furnishes valuable life support for blue crabs and fish. An adult oyster can filter 50 gallons of water per day. The entire Bay used to be filtered in just days, but now it takes more than a year.
ORP, along with its coalition of partners including the University of Maryland’s Horn Point Lab Hatchery (UMD HPL), the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Maryland Watermen’s Association and the Army Corps of Engineers, have developed and implemented a large-scale oyster restoration program over the last decade that has resulted in nearly 4 billion oyster spat on shell produced and planted on 1,500 acres. During the 2012 season, this coalition of partners deployed 634 million spat on shell in the Chesapeake Bay and collected over 7.5 million shells that will be recycled to provide future substrate on which new oysters will attach.
“When it comes to restoring the Chesapeake Bay, the importance of partners cannot be underestimated,” said Abel.“Engaging the public to play an active role in our Shell Recycling Alliance can help maintain and protect future restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay.”
Anne Arundel County Collection Sites (Hours 8am – 4pm, except holidays):
- 100 Dover Road, Glen Burnie
- 389 Burns Crossing Road, Severn
- 5400 Nutwell Sudley Road, Deale