Could an oyster reef do even more for water quality than hosting a bunch of water-filtering shellfish?
That’s the question the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is trying to answer this summer in Maryland’s Severn River.
In collaboration with a pair of scientists, the Annapolis-based environmental group has placed 240 concrete “reef balls” in the Western Shore tributary of the Bay. They’ve been seeded with about 400,000 baby oysters, called spat, so tiny that they’re almost invisible to the naked eye.
The research team wants to see if the squat, bullet-shaped reef balls can alter water currents enough to keep fish and shellfish from being stressed or even suffocated by dead zones — places where dissolved oxygen drops to dangerously low levels in warmer weather.[Continue Reading]