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Oyster project’s goal – 5 million in 5 years

Oyster Partnership2015MF094Five million oysters in the Patapsco River by 2020.

That’s the goal to be announced Thursday by The Great Baltimore Oyster Partnership, a collaboration between the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore’s Healthy Harbor Initiative and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

“Oysters once thrived in the tidal portions of the Patapsco River,” said Adam Lindquist, director of the Healthy Harbor Initiative. “Give the oyster’s unique natural ability to filter pollution from the water, this is one of many efforts to restore the health of the Baltimore Harbor so that it can once again be safe for swimming and fishing.”

Each year, 150,000 baby oysters – spat – raised in the Inner Harbor will be supplemented by an additional 850,000 spat transported from the foundation’s oyster restoration center in Shady Side to the river via the “Patricia Campbell,” the foundation’s oyster restoration vessel.

Volunteers with the partnership grow spat in cages hung off piers at locations throughout the Inner Harbor as well as at the Downtown Sailing Center and the Baltimore Marine Centers’ Lighthouse Point.

In late spring, the oysters are harvested and transported to the reef at Fort Carrol, a technique that ensures a higher survival rate for the spats because the cages protect them from predators while also keeping them near the surface, and food and oxygen.