Oyster power needed to clean up Chesapeake

A reef seeded with oysters by the state of Maryland – about 130 oysters per square meter – removed 20 times as much nitrogen pollution from stuff such as home lawn and farm fertilizer in one year as a nearby site that had not been seeded, according to a recently released study.

The upshot, said Lisa Kellogg, a researcher for the Virginia Institute of Marine Science who led the four-year study, is that oyster reefs could potentially remove nearly half of nitrogen pollution from that one river on Maryland’s Eastern Shore “if you took all the areas suitable for restoration and restored them.” A wider restoration could help clean the Chesapeake Bay, where the Choptank and other major rivers drain.

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