Sunday, August 30, 2009

Web site updated- Wellfleet oystermen battered

At last we have spent time on the web-site bringing it up to date with better information and a page En Espanol written by Guillermo Bascunana A Friend of MOP residing in Barcelona Spain. Bravo!

We also learned with dismay about the difficult times experienced by oystermen in Wellfleet. The recent storm really did a number on several growers. Here is the full story.

Cape Oyster Farmers

It is important for there to be a healthy oyster industry as the oystermen can be great advocates for the species.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dive Results-- Murky

Sunday was an interesting day. Mat lead our intrepid dive team which has added a cool new member- Dave with the light and pickuptruck shower- to the crew. The tide was medium, the skies gray and the bottom murky making for challenging visibility on the bottom.

The oysters had received considerable silt since the spring dive and the drifting of the boats during lasto October's placment may have hurt the effort dearly. (The oysters were intended to be dropped in a specific area with a hard stony bottom, but many wound up wide of the mark in areas with silt and more silt has subsequently fallen.)

Nonethless a portion are still alive and the divers reported those that were concentrated together are doing best.

We wanted to learn from this pilot and we are. The lesson for this Fall' placement are:

1. place a portion of them in a well anchored cages or apparatuses that is conducive to measurment. (We lost our last cage in the winter.) This facilitates tracking growth and viability.

2. Disburse oysters in a tight pattern in an area with desirable bottom conditions. (The dive team identified and explored such a site, downstream from our initial location.)

3. Establish more caged populations. We put two down off of the Constitution Marinaon Sunday. The oysters supplied by the awesome team at Island Creek were the size of dimes and we had 70 in one device and 121 in the other. These cages were made of milk crates lined with a fine mesh. I will post photos later.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Great meeting with Army Corps and application for Malibu Beach

We had a great meeting with a gentleman at the Army Corps of Engineers. There may be several ways that we can work together. They were instrumental in the oyster success in the Virginia River.

In the near term, they may test out a camera on our oysters and another potential site for them.

In response to a suggestion from DR. Anamarija Frankic of UMass Boston, we have contacted DMF seeking permission to establish a small caged test oyster population at the Dorchester Yacht Club off of Malibu Beach. Anamarija has started the Green Boston Harbor project. Go here to learn more.

Contribute without writing a check! Mass Oyster Project Affinity Card

We have partnered with CapitalOne to develop an affinity credit card. If you sign up and use it once. They donate $25 to MOP. And 1% of all paid charges thereafter would go to MOP. We will use thes funds to help place oysters in the harbor. Here is the link.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Checking on Reproduction Volunteer! TV

The water temperature on the bottom of the Charles is reaching 70 degrees and our volunteer dive team is heading down to check on our oysters this Sunday. They will be sampling the oysters to see if their internal organs are ready to reproduce or have already given off sperm or eggs.

To gain further information on their reproduction we have also placed bags of Quahog shells to see if any spat settle on them. (Spat are the infant oysters that swim around for the first two weeks and then attach to hard surfaces.) Note that some experts don't believe reproduction is likely until year two.

We need volunteers. We are increasingly being asked to attend other environmental events. If you are interested in getting out, meeting people, manning a table, and selling a few t-shirts. Let us know. For example, there is a Dorchester Beach Festival this Saturday August 8. There also is an event at Winthrop's Belle Isle Marsh on October 4. Here is a chance to get involved. Take it.

We are going to be on TV. Pam Brodie and I have been asked to be on Charlestown Cable TV on August 7 at 6:30.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Oyster Restoration Success in Virginia

Check out this video and story on an oyster restoration success in the Virginia River.

They are capitalizing on an abundance of free-floating young oysters in the area- swim for two weeks and then settle on to hard surfaces. A luxury we don't yet have. They also used a large amount of fossil shell.

Here is the link to video.

Here is the link to a NYTimes article.

Importantly the area is closed to harvesting.