Harris Creek Oyster Restoration Project Comes to a Close - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Harris Creek Oyster Restoration Project Comes to a Close

Posted: Updated:
(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

TILGHMAN ISLAND, Md.-  An oyster restoration project that watermen on Tilghman Island have been upset about for years came to a close on Tuesday. 

It has been four years since Harris Creek was closed as a sanctuary, and work began there, using rocks and shell to create oyster reefs.  That chapter came to a close as the last of the oysters were thrown overboard Tuesday afternoon.  But the watermen who work those waters say they say they still aren't sold on this project.

One by one, the last bushels of oysters were thrown into Harris Creek.  It was a big day for the people behind this project.

"More than 350 acres have been planted in this creek over the past four or five years," said Peyton Robertson, director of NOAA's Chesapeake Bay office.  "The grand total of number of oysters planted is going to be around 2 billion plus.  So, really a major milestone in terms of trying to restore tributaries in the Chesapeake Bay."

If this sounds familiar, it should.  A similar project took place last summer in the Little Choptank River, and more work is under way in the Tred Avon.  But the watermen that work these rivers are concerned with some of the materials being used, namely rock.

"I think it's a good idea.  If the state of Maryland wants to plant oysters, that's wonderful.  I don't think using the rocks is a very good idea.  If I wanted to plant tomatoes, I wouldn't plant pumpkin seeds, I'd plant tomato seeds.  So if you want to grow oysters, plant oyster shells, not rocks," said waterman Patrick Murphy. 

"It would have been really bad to lose the creek and put natural shells, [but] they didn't do that. They put rocks, granite, shells from Florida, and clam shells from New Jersey that were rotten," said Russel Dize, another Tilghman Island waterman.

NOAA said the rocks are not a problem though, because oysters will cling to rock just like shells.

"As the restoration effort gets bigger, and as aquaculture comes into it's own in Maryland, there's a lot of competition for a little amount of shell," said Stephanie Westby, head of the project for NOAA.  "So where in those places where we could find the shell we needed to rebuild the reef, we used shell."

NOAA said the rocks were just used to provide reef structure, with seed shells laid over top.

The groups involved say Harris Creek is showing a lot of promise, and looks like it will continue to for many years to come.  The watermen though, still ask:at what cost?  NOAA says the end result is you have a robust oyster population.

The Army Corps of Engineers issued a report which shows that rocks, along with shells, can in fact be used as a substrate for oyster reefs. 

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Suspect in Md. Office Park Shooting Apprehended in Del.

    Suspect in Md. Office Park Shooting Apprehended in Del.

    10/19/2017 02:28:00 -04:002017-10-19 06:28:00 GMT
    Thursday, October 19 2017 2:28 AM EDT2017-10-19 06:28:45 GMT
    Radee Labeeb Prince was arrested in Delaware Wednesday night following a shooting in two states.More
    Radee Labeeb Prince was arrested in Delaware Wednesday night following a shooting in two states.More
  • Wicomico County Sheriff's Facebook Post Questioned

    Wicomico County Sheriff's Facebook Post Under Fire

    10/17/2017 17:44:00 -04:002017-10-17 21:44:00 GMT
    Tuesday, October 17 2017 6:30 PM EDT2017-10-17 22:30:06 GMT
    SALISBURY, Md. - A now-deleted Facebook post from Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is causing controversy in the county.Lewis' post referred to protesters outside a Ravens Game on Sunday. The protesters were demonstrating next to a Maryland State PolicMore
    SALISBURY, Md. - A now-deleted Facebook post from Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is causing controversy in the county.Lewis' post referred to protesters outside a Ravens Game on Sunday. The protesters were demonstrating next to a Maryland State PolicMore
  • Update: Suspect in Maryland Office Park Shooting Arrested

    Update: Suspect in Maryland Office Park Shooting Arrested

    10/18/2017 20:53:00 -04:002017-10-19 00:53:00 GMT
    Wednesday, October 18 2017 11:58 PM EDT2017-10-19 03:58:37 GMT
    (Photo Credit: MGN)(Photo Credit: MGN)
    A man with a lengthy criminal past who showed up for work at a countertop company on Wednesday and shot five of his co-workers has been arrested, authorities said. Three of them were killed and two critically wounded.More
    A man with a lengthy criminal past who showed up for work at a countertop company on Wednesday and shot five of his co-workers has been arrested, authorities said. Three of them were killed and two critically wounded.More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • Wicomico County Sheriff's Facebook Post Questioned

    Wicomico County Sheriff's Facebook Post Questioned

    A now-deleted Facebook post from Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is causing controversy in the county. Lewis' post referred to protesters outside a Ravens Game on Sunday. The protesters were demonstrating next to a Maryland State Police trooper. In the post, Lewis referred to the protesters as "fist wielding, black power activists" who decried law enforcement officers' work.

    More

    A now-deleted Facebook post from Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is causing controversy in the county. Lewis' post referred to protesters outside a Ravens Game on Sunday. The protesters were demonstrating next to a Maryland State Police trooper. In the post, Lewis referred to the protesters as "fist wielding, black power activists" who decried law enforcement officers' work.

    More
  • 18 Inmates Charged in Deadly Del. Prison Uprising

    18 Inmates Charged in Deadly Del. Prison Uprising

    Sixteen inmates have been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a deadly uprising that occurred in early February at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. Two other inmates were also charged in connection with the incident on Feb. 1-2 that resulted in the murder of Lt. Steven Floyd, injuries to Correctional Officers Winslow Smith and Joshua Wilkinson, and the kidnapping of counselor Patricia May.

    More

    Sixteen inmates have been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a deadly uprising that occurred in early February at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. Two other inmates were also charged in connection with the incident on Feb. 1-2 that resulted in the murder of Lt. Steven Floyd, injuries to Correctional Officers Winslow Smith and Joshua Wilkinson, and the kidnapping of counselor Patricia May.

    More
  • Anti-Discrimination Draft Concerns Some in Sussex County

    Anti-Discrimination Draft Concerns Some in Sussex County

    Months after Governor Carney issued a memorandum asking the Department of Education to create a model anti-discrimination policy for the state, a draft is available for public comment.

    More

    Months after Governor Carney issued a memorandum asking the Department of Education to create a model anti-discrimination policy for the state, a draft is available for public comment.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices