4 Oyster Shell Recycling Drop-Off Sites Open in Dorchester Co. - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

4 Oyster Shell Recycling Drop-Off Sites Open in Dorchester Co.

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

CAMBRIDGE, Md.- Old oyster shells have more uses than you might think. The Oyster Recovery Partnership has set up four shell collection sites in Dorchester County.

The sites are in Hurlock, Secretary, Church Creek and at Horn Point Lab in Cambridge.

 "The shell recycling program is based around the restaurants in the state, trying to get more and more of them onboard all the time to save and keep their oyster shells and we go and bring them back here and run them through this process," said ORP Field Director Eddie Walton.

After aging for at least a year, shells will get ran through a shell washer and the cleaner the shell the easier it will be for baby spat to catch and reproduce.

"The baby oysters and larvae will set on them and then we will put them in either sanctuaries or bottom out in the Chesapeake Bay," Walton said.

Each recycled shell can provide a new home for 10 new oysters.

"What once was a unlimited resource, oysters shells have become a limited resource because there are just not enough around not as many being caught and harvested," Walton said. "Therefore they are very important not only because you need the larvae to set on, you have to have them for the base the foundation of the oyster bottom."

Clean shells are currently being stock pilled and then they will be placed in the waterways of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Dorchester is just the second county in the state of Maryland and the only one on the Eastern Shore to have recycling sites for oyster shells.

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