The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and the South River Federation, a local environmental nonprofit, teamed up to help purify South River and connected waterways with a natural filter: oysters.
Around 400 years ago, oyster reefs grew as large as 30 feet, with each oyster filtering up to 50 gallons of water a day to clean the Chesapeake Bay in only eight days, said Jesse Iliff, the South Riverkeeper.
Hundreds of years of harvesting depleted oyster levels, Iliff said, and now it takes over a year to achieve the same filtering.
"So far the science bears out that if you have a 3D structure (in an oyster reef) you will get a lot more viability than just laying oysters flat," Iliff said.
(Published in Capital Gazette, June 22, 2016)