Letters to the Editor

 Vol. 10, No. 17

April 25 - May 1, 2002

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Don’t Count the Native Oyster Out Yet

Dear Bay Weekly:
Reading oyster gardener April Falcon Doss’ “Journal: Life is Irrepressible” [Vol. X. No. 15, April 11-17] struck a symbiotic cord that prompts this response. Yes, even the most casual observer experiences the life forces that Mother Nature unleashes this time of year. Renewal you bet. The drab countryside suddenly bursts forth in the vibrant colors of spring. Even those prisoners of daily commuting gridlock can ease their pain by reflecting on this colorful scene.

As a designer and builder of homes for oysters in Virginia tidal waters, I listened closely to local carpenters who built the cofferdams for the concrete piers that support the Norris Bridge and the stories they told about the final underwater inspection in the fall of 1957. The divers were looking for cracks and other structural defects. What they found were oysters, oysters and more oysters — the size of a silver dollar — completely covering the underwater body of the 21 piers from the bottom to the intertidal zone. Truly amazing. Over the years, these hearty native oysters flourished and became the major source of spawn in the lower Rappahannock River.

We knew this in August of 1993 when the Commissioner of Virginia Department of Transportation came to Middlesex and Lancaster counties to inform the citizens about the plans to replace the old concrete deck on the Norris Bridge.

The two miles of concrete to be removed was considered valuable oyster reef building material by the Rappahannock Preservation Society. Negotiations were begun immediately to hammer out a deal that would create a major oyster-reef building program in the lower Rappahannock River at no expense to the taxpayer (state or federal). I have created [with my business Reeftek] a new partnership to design, build and manage oyster reefs, pursuing the market for native oyster production facilities.

We have proved that the native oyster can have a happy life in the right habitat. While the oysters are enjoying life, they are paying us back by cleaning the waters they live in. We can and will “Bring ’em Back Alive.” So dear readers, don’t count the native oyster out yet. It is in renewal.

— Robert W. Jensen: Senior Partner, Reeftek

Happy Birthday Bay Weekly!

Dear Bay Weekly:
I hope you are all enjoying looking back at another year of success. I have been lucky enough to work with you hands on, and I still look forward to the paper each and every Thursday. The paper looks great and I know all of your hard work is keeping you all very busy. Please know that you are all in my thoughts and Bay Weekly is a part of who I am today.

—Jennifer Dawicki, Annapolis

Editor’s note: Jennifer Dawicki has worked with Bay Weekly as an intern, writer and ad rep.

We welcome your letters and opinions. We will edit when necessary. Include your name, address and phone number for verification. Mail them to Bay Weekly, P.O. Box 358, Deale, MD 20751 • E-mail them to us at [email protected].

Copyright 2002
Bay Weekly