The Inner Harbor is farming more oysters, but not to eat. This morning, Harbor East Marina staff placed 25 cages along the promenade wall to help clean up the harbor’s murky waters.
Oasis Marinas, which manages the docking area, installed the cages filled with three-week-old oysters this morning to assist the Great Oyster Partnership of Baltimore. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore launched the effort in 2012, and are hoping to eventually plant 5 million oysters in the Patapsco River in Baltimore.
So far, they have embedded oyster gardens in Harbor East, Canton, at the National Aquarium and the waterside Rusty Scupper restaurant and at the Coast Guard Station in Curtis Bay, among other locations. The harbor now houses more than 200 cages.
prepare to put oysters into the marina. pic.twitter.com/OP5GJw5k8P
— Ruth Morton (@Ruthlestiltskin) September 30, 2016
“Increasing oysters in the Baltimore Harbor is just a better way to boost our efforts to clean up the harbor, to engage more businesses and residents and also build upon our restoration efforts,” said Carmera Thomas, program manager at the Waterfront Partnership’s Healthy Harbor Initiative.
These bivalves mollusks are not ripe for the picking, though. Staff are planting baby oysters in the cages that, when fully grown, can filter up to 50 gallons of water daily.
The harbor can use that filtration. Last we checked, it earned an F grade from the Waterfront Partnership for its high concentration of fecal matter, trash and other pollution. Harbor East and other locations are planting these oysters to fix that. The efforts ultimately work towards the Healthy Harbor Initiative’s ambitious goal to make the historic waterway safe for swimming by 2020.
Marina staff will be maintaining the cages and clearing away algae and other debris that could threaten the oyster pups’ health. In nine months, they will be replanted at the Fort Carroll sanctuary reef near Sparrows Point a couple miles downstream, where they will continuing eating away at pollution in the waterway.
Click here to read more about the Great Oyster Partnership of Baltimore.
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