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Susquehanna Life

Oysters may be small, but their value to the Chesapeake Bay? Enormous.

Apr 21, 2015 09:27AM ● By Erica Shames

Become an oyster gardner. Save the Bay. Photo by Kendall Osborne.

Just one adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of dirty water every day. But after years of overharvesting and pollution, the oyster population is a tiny fraction of what it once was. We're working to change this.

Spring is prime oyster-planting season. That means it's all hands on deck to plant a fresh crop of baby oysters in the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers. Our aim is to plant 30 million baby oysters in the next few months.

The Orvis Company has issued a challenge: If we can raise $15,000 by April 30, Orvis will contribute $15,000. That's an extra $15,000 to help baby oysters thrive and protect our Bay—but first, we need your help.

Make a gift to Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Your gift will help us ramp up our work this season—with oyster restoration efforts, education programs, and more.

The more oysters thriving, the cleaner—and safer—the Bay and its rivers and streams will be for generations to come. Your gift helps us grow baby oysters, build oyster-covered reef balls, and use special boats to place them on sanctuary reefs in the Chesapeake. Since we started our oyster restoration work in 2008, we've built more than 3,000 concrete reef balls, covered them with juvenile oysters, and planted them in oyster sanctuaries.

It’s paying off—big time. Oysters are still far scarcer than they were when the Bay was at its healthiest, but in the last couple of years, population and harvest numbers have begun to increase, thanks to the hard work of Bay champions like you. New studies even indicate that the oysters are growing heartier and more robust.

It’s one of the reasons it’s also so important for us to continue to be the Bay watchdog: going after polluters in court, pushing for full implementation of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, educating a new crop of young Bay champions, and more.

Help us make sure we have the resources we need to make sure we can bring our Bay, and our local rivers and streams, closer to the health and beauty we know they can be.

Don't forget, there’s no better time to give—not only is now the time we most need your help to plant reef balls, but if you make a gift now, Orvis will MATCH IT $1-for-$1 to double the impact on the Bay for generations to come.

Thanks for your commitment to this important work. Oysters and other Bay critters are depending on us.

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