Oysters play a vital role in the health of the Chesapeake Bay, but in recent years, declining oyster populations have had a dramatic impact on the Bay's overall health. Two schools -- The Green School of Baltimore and Digital Harbor High School have been actively working over the last year to help replenish oyster populations.
Students created special oyster sanctuaries to protect the oysters and placed them in the waters around the Inner Harbor. "They're called oyster spats -- which are baby oysters and they're all on the dead oyster shells and that's their habitat," says Leslie, a Digital Harbor High School student.
"Oysters filter the water in the Bay and that's really important because it helps the ecosystem a lot," says Ellie, a student at The Green School of Baltimore. "They also provide habitats for other animals when they build their reefs."
Students are helping to make the waters of the inner harbor swimmable by the year 2020. They are joined in their efforts by The Chesapeake Bay Foundation. "One of the reasons why we focus on oysters is because they are very effective filters. One adult oyster can filter 50 gallons of water in one day," says John Rodenhausen, the Maryland Director of Development at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. John is working with local business partners around the inner harbor to plant 75 oyster sanctuaries.
Ellie says, "Were hoping that if people are more informed about what oysters do for the bay, they'll be more aware of what they are doing to help them and what they should stop doing."