Oyster Restoration

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​In the past 100 years, the oyster population has declined dramatically due to a combination of overharvesting, disease, pollution, and natural predators.

Photo provided by: Lynnhaven River NOWToday, the oyster population stands at about two percent of its historic levels. Therefore, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, along with its federal, state and local partners, has embarked on an ambitious project to increase the population of native oysters in the Lynnhaven River. The Corps mission is ecosystem restoration. A successful project will enhance commercial oyster production on both public and private areas. 

Increasing the local oyster population is one of the most effective ways to enhance our water quality. In addition to water quality benefit, oyster reefs provide a myriad of other environmental benefits as well. The reefs act as needed habitat for young fish and crabs, providing both a source of food and protection. 

Oyster Heritage Fund Donations

The Oyster Heritage Fund Donation is voluntary and intended to support ongoing efforts to improve water quality and the Bay environmental habitat.  When City Council adopted the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Ordinance, Section 102.A. states the following:

"The intent of the City Council and the purpose of this ordinance are to: (1) protect existing high quality state waters; (2) prevent any increase in pollution; and (3) restore state waters to a condition or quality that will permit all reasonable public uses and will support the propagation and growth of all aquatic life, including game fish, which might reasonably be expected to inhabit them."

The Oyster Heritage Fund Donation is currently calculated as follows:

"Proposed impervious cover in the Resource Protection Area (RPA) divided by 4, divided by 27 (cubic yards), times 15, and times $1.65 for the total amount required. Said amount is based on 25% of the proposed impervious cover within the RPA and shall provide an equivalent oyster shell plant within the Lynnhaven River Basin approximately 12 inches deep."

Any questions please contact the Department of Planning and Community Development, Environment and Sustainability Office, 757-385-4621.

Nonprofits Restoration Efforts 

In the summer of 2006, Lynnhaven River NOW launched a pilot program with eight Virginia Beach restaurants, as well as public donations, to gather and recycle oyster and clam shells which were used to build Athey Island Oyster Reef in the spring of 2008. The pilot program was so successful, that it is now an ongoing program in partnership with the City of Virginia Beach. Learn more about this program and public drop-off sites.

Photo provided by: Lynnhaven River NOWHave you wondered how you might get more involved with Lynnhaven River restoration? Oyster gardening may be just the opportunity that you have been looking for. 

Restoring native oysters to the Chesapeake Bay is a high priority for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. It is a long-term and large-scale process that requires the participation and commitment of federal and state agencies, and watershed groups, as well as local citizens. Read about the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's oyster restoration programs and how you can help bring back the oysters.​​​

One of the Crystal Club's primary initiatives is to facilitate and fund the construction of more sanctuary oyster reefs throughout the Crystal Lake area, thereby helping to improve water quality.  


 

Video of Oysters Powerful Filtering Ability

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