I am happy and proud to be part of the VCU Rice Center’s Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program
What do oysters do?
Oysters benefit the natural environment by filtering 50-60 gallons of water per day of phytoplankton, suspended sediment and nutrient pollution. This pollution isn’t the toxic pollution pouring out of the end of a pipe; these are nutrients which contain nitrogen and phosphorus and come from land-based sources like excess lawn fertilizer that is not taken up by the plants and soil. Nutrients are transported to the Chesapeake Bay through rainwater runoff and lead to increased algae production such as “Red Tides”, reduced water clarity and areas of no oxygen called, “dead zones”. Oysters remove the algae and suspended sediment from the water, improving the clarity to allow aquatic grasses to grow. The grasses are critical habitat for young fish and crabs. Oysters also grow on top of one another, forming reefs. These reefs are valuable hard bottom habitat for blue crabs(Callinectes sapidus) , finfish such as striped bass (Morone saxatilis) , spotted seatrout(Cynoscion nebulosus) , red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) , and bay grasses such as eel grass (Zostera marina) .