|Oyster Restoration in the Elizabeth River|
Restorable bottom is hard bay floor in less than 20 feet of water that will support oysters.
Existing oyster reefs Reefs of oysters that were living in the area prior to our surveys.
Restoration - To achieve restoration, each reef in the tributary should contain 50 oysters and 50 grams of dry weight/m2 over 30% of the reef, with at least two year classes (generations) surviving. One 3-inch oyster weighs about 1 gram. For the entire tributary to be restored, 50-100% of the restorable bottom must contain reefs that meet restoration requirements. The area must also cover 8-16% of the historic oyster footprint- area that oysters have historically inhabited.
In April 2012, the Elizabeth River was selected for restoration efforts for several reasons. Most importantly, it is closed to market oyster production due to pollution; therefore, oysters are not harvested. It also has seen some recent restoration activity, with 11 reefs built and placed on the bottom between 1998 and 2009. Nonprofit organizations including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Elizabeth River Project are working to decrease pollution from Norfolk and Portsmouth, the second- and tenth-most populated cities in Virginia. Now that the tributary has been selected, data on restorable bottom and existing oyster reefs will be collected and a blueprint for oyster restoration will be drafted.
How Close Are Oysters in the Elizabeth River to Being "Restored"?
Progress Report: TBD after tributary analysis
References and More Information: