Little Choptank River Gets Millions of Oysters Dumped into it - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Little Choptank River Gets Millions of Oysters Dumped into it

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DORCHESTER COUNTY, Md.- Millions of oysters were planted in the Little Choptank River sanctuary on Thursday.

Despite the large number of oysters planted, environmentalists say there's still an anchor weighing down their boat.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has been planting oysters since 1998 and said that by 2025 it will have planted oysters in five tributaries that connect to the bay.

Shells were dispersed off the boat "Patricia Camble" and Capt. Karl Willey said how oysters are essential to the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.

"It's very important for the ecosystem to have these embedded because they support other systems in the food web," he said. "So, its a great mixing bowl for the bay and also provides habitat for critters."

Even though they might look like just shells, under a magnifying glass baby oysters, or spat, are the future of the Chesapeake Bay.

Doug Myers, Maryland senior scientist for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation said, "So we're creating a back of oysters that are going to be able to support the fishery for decades to come in the future and we're rebuilding the original native ecosystem throughout the bay."

But these oysters are facing a huge problem, and that's funding. Tom Zolper, assistant media director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, says money supports oyster growth and the bay's health.

"The money is getting really uncertain now," he said. "So we're surprised that and certainly really disappointed that this could end just when it's really beginning to take off," Zolper said.

And if it does end, Zolper said the future of the Chesapeake Bay does not look too bright.

"If it ends, the restoration of the bay ends, so we're very concerned," he said. 

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