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Choptank Complex Implementation Update 2013

This past year, partners restoring oysters to Harris Creek on Maryland’s Eastern Shore—including constructing reefs and planting baby oysters—worked on nearly 70 acres of oyster reef habitat, according to an update just released by the Maryland Oyster Restoration Interagency Workgroup. That brings the total accomplished for the project to nearly 190 acres—roughly halfway to the target of 377 acres.

The 2013 Implementation Update on Oyster Restoration Progress in the Choptank Complex—the second annual update on projects in the area—describes the work accomplished in Harris Creek in 2013 as well as plans and outlooks for other work in the “Choptank Complex,” including projects in the Tred Avon and Little Choptank Rivers.

In Harris Creek, 2013 was a busy year, including:

  • 34 acres of new oyster reef constructed
  • 711.6 million baby oysters produced and planted onto 67.6 acres of reefs

Plans are moving forward to restore oysters in the Little Choptank and Tred Avon Rivers, as well. In 2013, draft tributary plans were developed that include 400 acres for oyster restoration in the Little Choptank, and 193 in the Tred Avon. Work is slated to begin soon in the Little Choptank, and an Open House was held on February 27 to introduce area residents to the project and to listen to residents’ input about the planned work.

The Implementation Update also describes some of the work slated for 2014, including continued reef construction and oyster planting in Harris Creek, starting a similar effort in the Little Choptank, and a potential late-year start in the Tred Avon. NOAA will monitor previously constructed and seeded reefs using a range of technologies, including sonar.

The Workgroup, which is chaired by NOAA, also includes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and Oyster Recovery Partnership, and consults with scientists and other experts from around the region to design and implement oyster restoration plans.