NOAA Supports Focused Oyster Restoration in the Chesapeake
On May 12, 2009, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order that recognizes the Chesapeake Bay as a national treasure and calls on the federal government to lead a renewed effort to restore and protect the nation’s largest estuary and its watershed.
The Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration Executive Order established a Federal Leadership Committee that will oversee the development and coordination of reporting, data management and other activities by agencies involved in Bay restoration. The committee will be chaired by the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and include senior representatives from the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Interior, Transportation and others. NOAA and its sister federal agencies have set forth an ambitious set of actions to make a real difference in the environmental outcomes for this important ecosystem.
As part of the EO, NOAA led the development of oyster restoration performance metrics that, for the first time in the Chesapeake Bay, set criteria for evaluating success of oyster restoration projects at both tributary and reef spatial scales. The metrics will be used to track progress toward the EO goal to restore oysters in 20 tributaries by 2025.
USACE, NOAA and the state of Maryland have also initiated a targeted effort to restore oysters in Harris Creek, a Maryland oyster sanctuary. This collaborative effort serves as a bay-wide model for science-based, large-scale oyster restoration. In FY12, oyster reef construction continues with spat-on-shell planting, and restoration monitoring and evaluation.