Piankatank Oyster Restoration: Public Meeting
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District, will host a public meeting Tuesday, March 17, 2015, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Deltaville Branch of the Middlesex County Public Library, 35 Lovers Lane, Deltaville, Virginia 23043. The public is invited to ask questions and provide comments on the Chesapeake Bay Native Oyster Restoration Project proposed for the Piankatank River. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the meeting proceedings will begin at 6:00 p.m. For more information, please send emails to PROR@usace.army.mil.
Great Wicomico Oyster Restoration: Solicitation for Construction Contract released
The solicitation for the construction contract of the Chesapeake Bay Oyster Program, Great Wicomico Oyster Restoration project, has been released and is now available on www.fbo.gov. Between 2003 and 2004, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built 85 acres of oyster reefs in the Great Wicomico River. Today, a portion of those reefs are not successful because either the reefs are too low, which allows sediment to cover the structures, or they have been damaged due to poaching. The goal of this project is to increase reef height, which will improve the conditions for oyster colonization and allow the reefs to become successful. Construction will include dredging of fossil shell from Tribell Shoals in the James River, the transportation of that shell to the Great Wicomico River, and the placement of the shell onto more than 11 acres of existing reefs.
Piankatank Oyster Restoration: Draft Environmental Assessment available for public review
A Draft Environmental Assessment (EA), with Appendices, for the Chesapeake Bay Native Oyster Restoration Project, Piankatank River, Virginia, is now available for public review. The purpose of this project is to increase the population of native oysters in the lower Piankatank River by constructing new oyster reefs. The public review period will end March 31, 2015. To submit comments pertaining to the documents, please contact: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District, Planning and Policy Branch, Ms. Janet Cote, 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23510 or via email at PROR@usace.army.mil.
David Schulte, an Oceanographer with the U.S. Army Corps of engineers, Norfolk District, has been involved in the oyster restoration process since it began in 2000.
2001 - an oyster reef in the Lynnhaven River.
2007 - VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- Oyster shell is being placed on reefs in the Lynnhaven River.
2002 - Oyster shell being sprayed onto sanctuary reefs in Pocomoke Sound/Tangier.
Baby oysters, or spat, are sprayed on a sanctuary reef.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- Map of Lynnhaven River basin and the study of potential oyster reef locations.
GREAT WICOMICO RIVER, Va. -- Researchers with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science examine oyster spat to see how well the baby oysters are doing on a sanctuary reef in the Great Wicomico River in Virginia.
2009 - NORFOLK -- Colonel Andrew Backus signs the oyster Record of Decision.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va -- Colonel Andrew Backus (right), commander of the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps and Engineers, and Jack Travelstead, deputy of the Virginia Marine Resource Commission, examine oysters from the Lynnhaven.
Page 1 of the Army's Chesapeake Bay Strategy fact sheet
Page 2 of the Army Chesapeake Bay Strategy fact sheet.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- Virginia Tippie, director of Coastal America, kicks off the Jan. 14 awards ceremony with an overview of the program before presenting the U.S. Army Corps Lynnhaven Oyster Restoration Project team with the 2009 Coastal America Partnership Award. The award -- the only environmental award of its kind given by the White House -- recognizes the accomplishments of collaboration, innovation and successful ongoing efforts to restore and protect the coastal environment. The 39-member team was recognized specifically for native American oyster population research and growth in the Lynnhaven River. Partners in the ongoing initiative who also received plaques include the City of Virginia Beach, Lynnhaven River Now, Virginia Institute of Marine Science and Virginia Marine Resources Commission.
Oceanographer David Schulte (left) from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District, accepts the Coastal America plaque from Doug Lamont, assistant secretary of the Army (project planning and review), on behalf of the Corps’ collaborative efforts in oyster restoration in the Lynnhaven River. Partners in the ongoing initiative include the City of Virginia Beach, Lynnhaven River Now, Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- Laurie Sorabella, with Oyster Reef Keepers of Virginia, places a bag of 1,000 spat, or baby oysters, in a tub of Lynnhaven River water Oct. 15, 2011. Sorabella teaches oyster gardening classes to Hampton Roads teachers, so they in turn can create oyster gardens with their students. The oysters in the tub demonstrated how oysters clean the water -- an adult-sized oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- A bag of 1,000 spat, or baby oysters, has filtered a tub of Lynnhaven River water after only an hour. The oysters are a prop for an oyster gardening class taught to Hampton Roads teachers. The oysters in the tub demonstrated how oysters clean the water -- an adult-sized oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day. (U.S. Army photo/Kerry Solan)
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- One hour after a bag of baby oysters were placed in a fish tank with water from the Lynnhaven River, you can see how the filtering system works with these bivalves.
Susan Conner,chief of the environmental analysis section at the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, gives a public brief about the oyster master plan that involved Virginia and Maryland tributaries.
2013 - NORFOLK -- Oyster Master Plan Booklet
Fort Norfolk Oyster Garden Project
NORFOLK -- A Seatack Elementary student tests the water's temperature, oxygen content, acid level, and clarity.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- The Corps, partnered with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, or VIMS, uses an underwater robot to document reefs in the Lynnhaven.
Fort Norfolk Oyster Garden Project
NORFOLK -- Baby oysters, or spat, are showing good growth rates as students measure random species from each batch.
FORT NORFOLK, Va. -- Volunteers from the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, wade out to a sanctuary reef constructed off the shoreline here last year to place a mesh lining on top of the base. The baby oysters, or spat, are then added so they can attach themselves to the existing oysters.
Fossil Shell Dredging
Location where the six reefs will be constructed.
Willoughby Spit & Vicinity Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Project
Vicinity map. This Limited Reevaluation Report (LRR) and accompanying Environmental Assessment (EA) present the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of a limited reevaluation study of the coastal storm damage problems and needs of 7.3 miles of Chesapeake Bay shoreline within the city of Norfolk, Virginia. A 1983 Feasibility Report, also conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, recommended an implementable plan for a coastal storm damage reduction project which was later authorized for construction by Congress in the Water Resources Development Act of 1986. The Authorized Project consisted of the construction and periodic sand renourishment of a protective beach berm along the entire study area shoreline. Preconstruction Engineering and Design (PED) investigations leading to the construction of the Authorized Project were put on hold from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s due to a shift in local priorities in the study area resulting from the construction of two major Navy dredging/sand placement projects and state funding for the construction of offshore breakwaters. In 2003, Hurricane Isabel brought about a renewed interest in the Authorized Project and with support at the local and Federal levels, PED investigations restarted to include the completion of a limited reevaluation study to determine whether there was continued Federal and local interest in the construction of the Authorized Project or a reformulated project plan.
Jo-Ellen Darcy, the assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, looks at fossilized oyster shell with Jen Armstrong, project manager for the District's oyster restoration project. The shell is destined to be used in Corps sanctuary #oyster reefs in the Elizabeth River as part of the Craney Island Eastward Expansion project environmental mitigation plan. The mountainous piles of shell were obtained from the Commonwealth of Virginia through an agreement between the Norfolk District and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. (U.S. Army photo/Patrick Bloodgood)
Fort Norfolk Oyster Garden Project
FORT NORFOLK, VA - Geographer Karin Dridge (right) from the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Jessica Grell from Seatack Elementary School in Virginia Beach, add baby oysters to a bag that will be placed in Taylor Floats. Grell, a 4th grade teacher at Seatack Elemtary, donated 14,000 baby oysters, or spat. The data compilation by Grell’s fourth grade students will begin next week with a baseline data collection and continue until next June 2013. At that time, these district oysters will be of sufficient size and will once again placed on the breakwater reef.
Sherri Jefferies (left) and Pam Bragg from the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, were among 65 volunteers who collected bushels of oyster shell from the Craney Island Dredged Material Management Area for an oyster reef.
Fort Norfolk Oyster Garden Project
NORFOLK -- Students from Seatack Elementary School in Virginia Beach, Va., get a safety brief from Oscar Harts (center) after arriving at the Norfolk District before being escorted to the oyster gardening site by Jeff Swallow (left) and Karin Dridge.
PORTSMOUTH, Va. -- The Craney Island Dredged Material Management Area here is a temporary home for thousands of cubic yards of dredged fossil shell being dredged from Tribell Shoal in the James River. On July 8, 2013 the site began storing the shell, which will be used for the construction of six oyster reefs for the Craney Island Eastward Expansion project. Construction of the $3.6 million environmental restoration project is set to begin in August of this year. Reefs will be built in Hoffler Creek, Baines Creek, Blows Creek, the Lafayette River and two in Gilligan’s Creek.
Fossil Shell Dredging
PORTSMOUTH, Va. – Cranes at the Craney Island Dredged Material Management Area, or CIDMMA, here are removing fossil shell from a barge into a dump truck. Once the thousands of cubic yards of shell dredged from Tribell Shoal in the James River is sifted it will be stored here temporarily. On July 8, the site began storing the shell, which will be used for the construction of six oyster reefs for the Craney Island Eastward Expansion project. Construction of the $3.6 million environmental restoration project is set to begin in August of this year. Reefs will be built in Hoffler Creek, Baines Creek, Blows Creek, the Lafayette River and two in Gilligan’s Creek.
The purpose of the Chesapeake Bay Oyster Restoration projects are to restore oyster habitat and populations in 20 tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay by 2025 as established in Executive Order 13508. To achieve this goal, oyster habitat must be protected and restored, and populations of oysters must increase substantially.
The Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducts three initiatives relating to the presence of oysters in the Chesapeake Bay:
• Construct projects designed to establish sustainable breeding populations of native oysters in sanctuaries in Virginia.
• Create a joint Norfolk District-Baltimore District Chesapeake Bay Oyster Restoration Master Plan to outline a long-term plan for large-scale native oyster restoration.
• Prepare an oyster environmental impact statement (EIS) that will evaluate ongoing native restoration efforts and the possible introduction of a non-native oyster species.
The Corps’ Chesapeake Bay Oyster Restoration program was authorized by section 704(b) of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1986, as amended by Section 342. The program was formulated based on coordination and consultation among many project partners and stakeholders, federal and state resource agencies, watermen, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the academic community and interested citizens, as well as non-profit groups such as Oyster Recovery Partnership, Virginia Seafood Council, Lynnhaven River Now and others.
When Captain John Smith arrived with the first English settlers to the New World in 1607, he noted that oysters were so ubiquitous in the Chesapeake Bay (a name translated from the Native American words for “great shellfish bay”) that they lay “as thick as stones.” As recently as 100 years ago, huge oyster reefs posed navigational hazards to ships in the area. These historic populations, dubbed “Chesapeake Gold” by watermen, not only supported a booming oyster industry in Virginia and Maryland, but served the ecosystem by filtering water in the Bay and providing habitat and food for other creatures.
Oyster populations in the Chesapeake Bay have experienced a severe decline, beginning in the late 1800’s. Today, oyster population levels and biomass are less than 1 percent of historic levels. This decline has been primarily due to overharvesting, parasitic diseases, and loss of habitat.
Oysters are a keystone species in the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. Oysters are filter feeders and have the potential to significantly increase water quality by removing suspended solids, organic particles, and phytoplankton from the water, which directly increases water clarity and quality. They also provide important structure and habitat in the form of oyster reefs, which attract a wide variety of fish species and other aquatic life.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been actively involved in oyster restoration in the Chesapeake Bay since 1996. Since 2001, sanctuaries have been constructed in the Rappahannock River, Tangier/Pocomoke Sound, Great Wicomico River, and the Lynnhaven River.
On-going and upcoming efforts include surveying of fossil shell resources, modeling to determine the environmental benefits of rotational harvest management regimes, monitoring of previously constructed oyster reefs, rehabilitation of existing reefs in the Great Wicomico, and pre-construction activities for oyster restoration in other Virginia tributaries.
The Corps mission is the ecological restoration of the oyster and is focused on increasing the population of native (Crassostrea virginica) oysters. As a result, the project will focus on restoring oysters in sanctuaries that are free from fishing.
The oyster restoration plan includes the creation of new oyster reefs, rehabilitation of non-productive reefs, development of seed-producing reefs, planting of disease-resistant seed oysters, and follow-on project monitoring. The use of disease -esistant strains of the native oyster such as DEBY, Crossbred, and possibly other disease-resistant varieties of the native species will be used, such as field-selected wild Lynnhaven River oysters.
The Norfolk District became involved with the program in 2001 and has completed three projects: the Rappahannock River, Tangier/Pocomoke Sound and the Great Wicomico River, as well as the first phase of a construction effort in the Lynnhaven River.
Authorized by Congress each year.
The schedule is based on funding.
Click here to find out more about the oyster restoration efforts with the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which began in 1999-2000.
803 Front Street
Norfolk, VA 23510