Don Rush

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) - Collection sites in Newport News, Hampton and Williamsburg are taking in empty oyster shells to help rebuild oyster habitat in the Chesapeake Bay.
The oyster shell collection bins are for use by restaurateurs and residents alike.
The bay's oyster population has declined for decades because of pollution and disease, among other reasons. To bring back a signature bay catch, public and private efforts have accelerated in recent years to recreate the reefs oysters need to thrive.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Two environmental groups aim to plant 5 million oysters in Baltimore's Patapsco River by 2020.
The goal was 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.
The project was first reported Wednesday by The Daily Record.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - The Maryland Department of the Environment says it's temporarily allowing watermen to harvest oysters and clams in the Kent Island Narrows, a waterway that is usually closed to shellfish harvesting.

The change is effective Monday and will continue through the end of the oyster season on March 31.

The Narrows is a channel between Kent Island and the Delmarva Peninsula. During most years, a high volume of boat traffic and marina activity creates the potential to degrade shellfish water quality, so harvesting is prohibited.

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Maryland’s oyster season could be extended until mid-April after this winter’s icy waters kept many watermen from their harvest.

Watermen are seeking an extension of 10 days until April 14th.

Johnny Shockley of Hooper’s Island told the Salisbury Daily Times that it had been a particularly brutal winter and that the watermen could not get those days back.

Most of the harvesting is done before the New Year but the freeze could have affected many who come to the bay to harvest oysters.

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LOTTSBURG, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Farm Bureau says the state's oyster harvest rose 25 percent last year, passing the 500,000-bushel mark.

Officials say more than 504,000 bushels of oysters were harvested during the 2013-2014 season, up from almost 409,000 bushels in the previous season. The latest harvest is the largest since 1987.

The dockside value of that harvest increased to $22.2 million, with an estimated economic impact of more than $58 million.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia is connecting travelers to the state's popular oyster industry with the creation of the Virginia Oyster Trail.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the new tourism project on Tuesday at the Executive Mansion in Richmond.

The trail links visitors with Virginia oyster purveyors, and restaurants, raw bars and the long-standing watermen culture throughout the Northern Neck, Middle Peninsula and Virginia's Eastern Shore.

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There will not be a two week extension of the oyster season.

So, says the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Senator Richard Colburn asked for the extension saying that watermen had lost several days of work this season because of the winter weather and sub-freezing water temperatures.

But DNR said that the extension was not necessary because watermen did well this oyster season adding that only ten days were lost due to the weather.

The Oyster season ends March 31st.


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The Oyster. It has come to symbolize the Chesapeake Bay. Delmarva Public Radio Essayist George Merrill reflects on its beauty and says, perhaps, we should treat it more kindly.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia is shedding its late 19th century oyster tax for an annual user fee.

The new system will spare watermen mounds of paperwork and return the proceeds of the user fee back to the Chesapeake Bay to replenish public oyster stocks. The new system begins July 1.

It will replace a system that required monthly reports and taxes on each bushel of oysters. The user fees apply to commercial oyster operations, not for individuals who grow oysters off their docks for their own eating enjoyment.


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Department of Natural Resources says it is looking for communities interested in helping raise baby oysters.

The department says the Marylanders Grow Oysters program raised more than 2 million oysters last year that were later planted in sanctuaries.

State officials say the program began six years ago with about 900 cages along the Tred Avon River. It has now has expanded to nearly 7,500 cages in 30 bay tributaries.


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A federal plan to restore the native oyster to the Chesapeake Bay identifies 24 tributaries in Virginia and Maryland that provide the best potential to bring back a coveted hard-shell that has declined to less than 1 percent of historic highs.

The plan was prepared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of the federally directed effort to restore the environmentally battered estuary, the nation's largest. It concludes that 14 tributaries in Maryland and 10 in Virginia offer the best hope of restoring the bay oyster.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland natural resources officials say seven tributaries are being added to a volunteer oyster growing program.

The Department of Natural Resources says each year the program accepts applications from community groups and all seven applicants this year were accepted. The applications came from the Bodkin, Oyster, Pope's and Crab Alley Creeks as well as the Little Choptank and Rhode rivers, and Swan Cove in Harris Creek.


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Two Eastern Shore waterways will get $7.5 million for oyster restoration under Maryland's proposed state budget.

     Harris Creek and the Little Choptank River would receive funding for the placement of oyster shells, limestone, granite or other substrate to create habitat in the waterways, which are home to two of the state's new oyster sanctuaries. The Department of Natural Resources says it believes oysters will survive in the waterways if they have a substrate on which to grow.