Today, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) are proud to announce a new partnership centered on oyster restoration.

The partnership includes relocating CBF’s Maryland Oyster Restoration Center to the SERC campus in Edgewater to produce spat-on-shell oysters and reef balls.

CBF and SERC will work collaboratively to expand research opportunities, train students, and promote Bay restoration through this new partnership.

SERC’s research into the challenges facing coastal areas worldwide, including climate change, invasive species, and pollution threats to ecosystems, will help inform CBF’s ongoing efforts to restore oysters and increase reef habitat in the Bay.

“This new partnership of SERC and CBF brings a strong blend of research and public engagement for restoring oysters in the Bay—a crucial step in rebuilding the co-benefits of healthy oyster reefs,” said SERC Director Tuck Hines. “SERC’s base in the Rhode River provides ready access to new restoration sites on the Western Shore, where we can engage more people as citizen scientists in regenerating biodiversity and ecosystems services for the Bay. In the future, CBF’s spat on-shell production process and the R/V Patricia Campbell will allow SERC to apply rigorous experiments at a scale to test new ideas about the complex interactions of reef design. Our partnership provides a model of collaboration that can be scaled up and replicated throughout the Chesapeake and beyond.”

CBF has coordinated Bay oyster restoration efforts for over 20 years and has added more than 332 million spat, or juvenile oysters, to reefs throughout the Bay. Previously, CBF’s Maryland Oyster Restoration Center was located at Discovery Village in Shady Side.

“The partnership between SERC and CBF is an oyster restoration match made in heaven,” said CBF President Hilary Falk. “Locating CBF’s oyster restoration activities at SERC will usher in a new era of collaboration between our organizations that will expand oyster restoration efforts, advance cutting-edge oyster science, and so much more.”

CBF and SERC plan to engage volunteers, school children, teachers, college students, and others to help and learn about oyster restoration efforts through hands-on activities. CBF will dock its specially designed oyster restoration vessel, the R/V Patricia Campbell, at the facility’s pier on the Rhode River.

On Monday, CBF and SERC leaders and staff celebrated the new partnership by planting more than 200,000 oysters on a reef near the SERC dock. The nearby reef was first built by CBF for SERC research activities in 2006.

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