How Many Oysters Does It Take to Restore the Bay?

Marylanders are planting oysters as if they can save the species by their effort alone. Perhaps they can.

The Severn River is among a dozen waterways where Marylanders Grow Oysters, joining in a state program supported by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Oyster Recovery Partnership.


To rebuild oyster reefs in the Severn, more than 250 volunteers have tended 1,100 cages of spat suspended from docks along the river. Oysters were raised at private and community docks from Round Bay south to areas around Annapolis, including at Annapolis City Docks in Ego Alley and at the National Sailing Hall of Fame. 


Last weekend, dozens of boats joined in the culmination of a year’s work. Severn River Association volunteers collected three-quarters of a million yearling oysters to plant on a new reef built by the Army Corps of Engineers as the Severn River Association’s oyster sanctuary. 


Traces Hollow Reef, near the Rt. 50 bridge, is across from the U.S. Naval Academy on the Scenic Severn River.


Santuary oysters are never harvested; they live to restore the Bay, its many species and their own kind. 


The Severn River Association is the oldest river association in the U.S. and Anne Arundel County’s only river group in continuous operation since 1911. Join the association’s second century by sitting in at a monthly third Tuesday meeting — that’s June 17 this month — at 7pm at Calvary United Methodist Church in Annapolis.