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Monday, May 26, 2008

CBF seeks oyster gardeners

Hampton Roads -

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) needs volunteer gardeners throughout Hampton Roads this summer to help restore the oyster population and improve the water quality of the bay, its rivers and streams. The program provides individuals with the opportunity to help bring back the species by using the area beside their docks. One oyster can filter 50 gallons of polluted water a day. Oyster reefs also provide much needed habitat for other marine life.

Oyster gardening volunteers in Gloucester can receive instruction from CBF experts at a training seminar on July 29, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The seminar will be at Waterman's Hall on the Virginia Institute of Marine Science campus, located on Route 1208, Greate Road, Gloucester Point. There is a $25 fee and participants will be provided with 1,000 baby "seed" oysters and asked to nurture them for one year until the oysters reach maturity. At that time, CBF will collect the oysters and place them on state-protected oyster reefs in rivers around Virginia.

Participants must have access to water with the proper salinity. One simple test is that if salt can be tasted in the creek or river water, it generally means there is enough salt to grow oysters. For more information, contact Charlene Ihrig, 757-622-1964 or e-mail,

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