|Oyster Restoration in the Lafayette River|
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.
Water Quality- Based on factors such as dissolved oxygen, temperature, salinity, nutrients, and water clarity. Oysters cannot survive if the water quality is very low.
In April 2012, the Lafayette River was selected for restoration efforts. As a tributary of the Elizabeth River, it has many of the same benefits and risks as does the Elizabeth, with the added challenge of being completely contained within the city of Norfolk (and subject to the actions of its 242,000 residents). In April 2011, a plan was presented by the Elizabeth River Project that aimed to improve water quality and allow some harvest of oysters by 2014. This plan places an emphasis on home- and community-based efforts to reduce pollution and decrease bacteria levels in the river. Other small-scale efforts have been funded by NOAA and will be implemented by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Elizabeth River Project, including rebuilding of oyster reefs and wetlands. These efforts will kick-start the larger-scale restoration that will occur after data collection, analysis, mapping, and the drafting of a blueprint.
How Close Are Oysters in the Lafayette River to Being "Restored"?
Progress Report: Additional information to come after Tributary Analysis is complete.
References and More Information: