Capable of filtering as much as 50 gallons of water a day, oysters are water quality super heroes. Back in the 1600s, oysters filtered all of the Chesapeake Bay’s waters in only a week. Today scientists say it takes as long as a year.
Battered by disease and overfishing, Bay oyster populations currently lie at 1 percent of historic levels, which significantly affects water quality. Knowing the importance of these filter feeders, oyster farmers, universities and environmental organizations are hoping to boost the Bay’s oyster population to 10 billion by 2025, helping to boost the watershed's health in the process.
This video from WJZ-TV in Baltimore, Maryland, has more on the effort.
You can read more about oyster farming and its impact on Bay water quality by reading this feature, which originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of Soundings magazine.