Buy a Bushel, Help Put 10 Million Oysters in Severn River

The Severn River’s Build-a-Reef program doesn’t do anything halfway. That’s why it’s going big with a new effort to plant ten million oysters in the Severn this summer.

The Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP) and Severn River Association (SRA) just launched a fundraising campaign asking folks to buy bushels of baby oysters (spat) to be fostered, transported, and planted at Wade Oyster Reef, near the Naval Academy. Each bushel contains thousands of spat that will grow and provide valuable habitat and water-filtering services. 

An Oyster Recovery Partnership boat loaded with million of oysters during the 2018 Build-a-Reef planting. Photo: Charlie Youngmann

“Within the local community, we continually hear neighbors, friends, families, organizations and businesses asking how they can tangibly support a healthier Chesapeake Bay,” said SRA President David Barker. “Build-a-Reef was created to give all of us the opportunity to take ownership of our river and directly support a cause near to our heart and home.”

Individuals and businesses can buy bushels of spat on shell (juvenile oysters) by clicking here.

Operation Build-a-Reef has proven successful in the past. Last July, ORP expanded three protected oyster reefs in the Severn, thanks to 40 million spat funded by the state and an additional 7 million from individual donors.

Since then, ORP reports positive oyster survival and growth on the newly planted sites. Despite last year’s record rainfall, the spat are thriving. According to an ORP report, “Results revealed low oyster mortality, abundant spat-set and growth, as well as large, healthy oysters from 2009 plantings.”

Someday, ORP hopes to expand Build-a-Reef to other Chesapeake Bay waterways, with the help of those watershed communities.

-Meg Walburn Viviano