Environmental Protection

Chesapeake Bay Oysters

NRL Aids in Maryland Chesapeake Bay Oyster Restoration Efforts

The Naval Research Lab’s Chesapeake Bay Detachment is now host to the latest addition to the state’s oyster restoration and revitalization effort.

The Naval Research Lab’s Chesapeake Bay Detachment (CBD) is now host to the latest addition to the state’s oyster restoration and revitalization effort.

Working with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and oyster shell substrate, harvested oyster larvae – “spat” – have been suspended in cages in the waters along the facility’s 400-foot pier. The young oysters will remain suspended in cages for their first year of life. Once they mature, the adult oysters will be planted on local sanctuaries, enriching the Bay ecosystem and contributing to the bay’s oyster population.

According to Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the bay's oyster population has been devastated by disease, overharvesting and water quality problems. Initiatives similar to the one at NRL allow oysters to reproduce and hopefully, over time, develop natural resistance to diseases that have imperiled native oysters and other mollusks.

In an announcement made during the Maryland Chesapeake Bay base commander's conference at the U.S. Naval Academy, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus emphasized, "We all recognize that what happens in the Chesapeake Bay is not just a concern for the people of the Chesapeake Bay," said Mabus. "It affects our entire country. It affects every American."

As the Defense Department's (DoD) Executive Agent, the Department of the Navy is responsible for ensuring all of its 68 DoD installations in the Chesapeake Bay watershed adhere to environmental and clean water standards. The DoD has been working to improve the bay since 1984, when it was the first federal agency to become formally involved in bay restoration.

The Navy has already made strides toward becoming more environmentally friendly by developing and implementing hybrid fuel-cell technologies and alternative biofuels, upgrading wastewater treatment plants at various installations, implementing low-impact development practices to reduce storm water runoff, and applying LEED building construction standards.

NRL is the Department of the Navy's corporate laboratory. NRL conducts a broad program of scientific research, technology, and advanced development. Located on the western shore of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, the CBD is a 168-acre facility used for research and field testing of radar, remote sensing, and optical and laser technologies.

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