The draft Environmental Impact Statement reviewed a proposed action and eight alternative actions regarding nonnative and native oysters in the Chesapeake Bay. During the course of the review, it added three combinations of alternatives.

Proposed Action: The state of Maryland and commonwealth of Virginia propose to introduce the oyster species Crassostrea ariakensis into the tidal waters of Maryland and Virginia for the purpose of establishing a naturalized, reproducing and self-sustaining population of this species. The states would continue efforts to restore native oysters as well.

  • Alternative 1: No Action; continue current programs with native oysters.

  • Alternative 2: Expand and accelerate native oyster restoration programs.

  • Alternative 3: Implement a temporary harvest moratorium on native oysters, which would include an oyster industry compensation (buyout) program that would offer displaced oystermen on-water work in a restoration program.

  • Alternative 4: Establish and/or expand state-assisted, managed or regulated aquaculture operations in Maryland and Virginia using the native oyster species.

  • Alternative 5: Establish state-assisted, managed or regulated aquaculture operations in Maryland and Virginia using sterilized, non-native oyster species.

  • Alternative 6: Introduce and propagate an alternative oyster species (other than C. ariakensis) or an alternative strain of C. ariakensis.

  • Alternative 7: Establish a reproducing and self-sustaining population of C. ariakensis in Maryland and Virginia but discontinue efforts to restore C. virginica.

  • Alternative 8: Combine alternatives. Those proposed in the draft EIS include:

  • Combination 8a: Uses native oyster only, and combines alternatives 2, 3 and 4

  • Combination 8b: Uses native oyster and triploid (sterile) C. ariakensis and combines alternatives 2, 3, 4 and 5

  • Combination 8c: Proposes to introduce a breeding population of C. ariakensis into the Bay, and also pursue alternatives 2, 3, 4 and 5.