Supporting Oyster Restoration Through Volunteer Programs

Community Based Monitoring & the Role of Citizen Science
Oral Presentation

Prepared by K. Lycett
Phillips Wharf Environmental Center, 672 W Glenwood Ave, PO Box 3117, Easton, Maryland, 21601, United States


Contact Information: [email protected]; 410-886-9200


ABSTRACT

Oyster populations in the Chesapeake Bay remain low after suffering from overfishing in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, disease outbreaks in the 1960’s and 1980’s, and yearly environmental variation that reduces reproductive success. Large scale oyster restoration projects are underway to bolster wild oyster populations, along with shell recycling programs, and citizen science oyster growing. These citizen science programs, such as the Tilghman Islanders Grow Oysters program managed by the nonprofit Phillips Wharf Environmental Center in Easton, MD, allow Chesapeake Bay residents to monitor juvenile oysters and allow them to grow relatively protected before they are planted on wild reefs. Programs such as this engage volunteers directly in restoration activities and generate community support and buy-in for large scale projects utilizing state and federal funding.