In April, the Army Corps of Engineers will be the host of three public meetings - two in Maryland and one in Virginia - to discuss a master plan to restore the population of native oysters in both states' tributaries.

The Native Oyster Restoration Master Plan is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' plan for large-scale, science-based oyster restoration throughout the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

The meetings will be an opportunity for the public to ask questions and provide feedback. Members of the Norfolk and Baltimore district's oyster teams will be present at all meetings.

Public meeting dates and locations are:

Annapolis, MD: 3-8 p.m. April 10 at the The Philip Merrill Environmental Center (Chesapeake Bay Foundation) at 6 Herndon Ave.
Wye Mills, MD: 3-8 p.m. April 19 at Chesapeake College, 1000 College Circle.
Hampton, VA: 4-9 p.m. April 17 at Thomas Nelson Community College, 99 Thomas Nelson Drive.
Questions posed will be discussed at the public meetings and responses will be posted on the native oyster restoration Facebook page: www.facebook.com/NAOonFB.

People can also e-mail questions and comments prior to any meetings at: NativeOysterRestMasterPlan@usace.army.mil.

The master plan examines and evaluates the problems and opportunities related to oyster restoration and formulates plans for implementing large-scale Baywide restoration.

Restoration efforts recommended by the Corps' master plan have been developed in coordination with the state of Maryland, commonwealth of Virginia, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, EPA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

The long-term goal is to restore an abundant, self-sustaining oyster population that performs important ecological functions.

These include providing reef community habitat, nutrient cycling, spatial connectivity and water filtration, as well as contributing to the oyster fishery.