Would anybody know where I could get some free or cheap oyster shells in the Smith Point area?I need about about two bushels for a landscape project.
I have gotten several dump truck loads at Bevins. I forget how much they cost
I know J&W's has 2 huge piles behind the store. Maybe if there is a seafood resturant/store near you they will have the same piles
Shells are in short supply, and are better used for restoration/aquaculture.
Scott,I never realized that they were that important.Maybe I better use gravel or rocks.I want to help the oysters anyway I can.
I think rocks would be great!
Shell is a commodity these days. MD had to go to Louisanna to buy shell this year. MD and Virginia Shucking houses save their shell, and sell it back for restoration and aquaculture. In many cases they get more than $1.00/bushel for it. Unfortunately, most resturants and retail consumers don't realize how important the shell is, and it gets used in driveways, thrown in the woods, or even worse - landfilled. A good conservation project in your local area would be to start a shell collection program. Restoration projects like the one we have with our Local CCA chapter here in MD are struggling to get the shell we need - and it would be great to partner with other groups who collect shell.
As Scott pointed out, oyster shells are recycled after restaurant use and by the shucking houses. These shells are valuable in the oyster restoration efforts, such as the program being conducted by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. This work is done at the VIMS (Virginia Institute of Marine Science) facility at Gloucester Point. The main focus has been to use recycled shell to produce a shell that has small oysters (called "spat on shell") growing on it. I have counted as many as seventy oyster seed (larvae) attached to a single shell. The average is much lower and, obviously, not all will be able to grow off a single shell. These shells are then placed in local waters on sanctuary reefs and add a high concentration of young oysters. When they reach maturity, the natural reproduction rate benefits greatly by the concentrated stocking. There will still be natural predation by crabs, rays, etc. but the survival of the reef colony is greatly enhanced.
Here are some shells at VIMS that will be used in the spat on shell operation:
Here are the shells in the containers. The second pic shows the introduction of oyster larvae that will attach themselves to the cleaned shells.
The next two pics show the shell (with spat attached) being dumped on an existing CBF reef in the Piankatank River. Throughout the course of this important work, there are two CBF staffers assisted by many CBF volunteers and college kids on summer intern programs.
More oysters equals more filtering of the water.