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Oyster group begins planting in Chesapeake

ANNAPOLIS — The Oyster Recovery Partnership says it has begun its planting season by placing 31 million oysters on nearly 10 acres in Harris Creek.

The nonprofit environmental group says small oysters grown at the University of Maryland’s Horn Point Hatchery were planted this week. The partnership says a recent expansion of the hatchery means it can plant up to 2 billion small oysters a year.

The work is part of the federal Chesapeake Bay restoration strategy that calls for restoring self-sustaining oyster populations in 10 Maryland tributaries by 2025. The Eastern Shore creek near Tilghman Island is the first site selected for the large-scale tributary-based oyster restoration effort.

Oysters are filter feeders that help improve bay water quality. Their reefs also provide habitat for crabs, fish and other species.