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Project aims to get 10B oysters in the Chesapeake Bay

More than 1,000 baby oysters, or spat, are in each of these bags used in 2011 to create a sanctuary oyster reef in Virginia waters. (U.S. Army photo/ Pamela Spaugy)

More than 1,000 baby oysters, or spat, are in each of these bags used in 2011 to create a sanctuary oyster reef in Virginia waters. (U.S. Army photo/ Pamela Spaugy)

NORFOLK, Va. — A coalition of environmental groups and foundations has made a goal of adding 10 billion oysters to the Chesapeake Bay over the next several years.

The Virginian-Pilot reports foundation officials hope the increased cooperation will accelerate the oyster drive and add to pressure against the Trump administration’s proposed cutbacks in federal funding for bay cleanup.

Will Baker with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation tells WTOP-FM that oysters are a keystone species and are vital to the health of the bay.

Foundation officials say achieving the goal will require several things including greater sanctuary oyster reef construction and expansion along with more replenishment of public oyster harvest grounds.

In recent years, oysters have made an impressive comeback after decades of dramatic declines in oyster populations.