Thursday, October 29, 2009

Oyster Placement Goes Beautifully

As we picked up the oysters on the night of October 28th the rain was streaming down and we had almost no fuel in the van loaned to us by Island Creek Oysters. We soon found an open station and brought the 50,000 bivalves that were carefully packed and cooled inside to Charlestownfor an overnight stop. From that inauspicious moment things improved dramatically.

The rains subsided and there was a glorious sunrise as we left Dunkin Doughnuts with morning refreshments for the volunteers. Upon arrival at the drop site, the first of the divers Dave"inspector gadget" was already there with a trailer full of equipment, a tent frame/shelter up and a grin wide enough to cross the Charles. He even brought his 11 year old son Matt along who was a tremendous help. As we began unpacking, an inspiring  stream of volunteers began arriving: Lisa from UMass, MOP stalwart Pam Bradie, Jarrett from the Mystic River Watershed, Mat Brevard our dive leader, Frans from the Charles River Swim. And they kept coming.

To see photos you can go to this web album. MOP 2009 Placement

Everyone pitched in and we had a very nice day. We mesured oysters, placed them into frames designed and built by Mat, while the divers hit the water. On the next dive they began placing them in the water, the afternoon culminated with area children disbursing the last 40,000 oysters from a boat into carefully marked areas. (Last year the boats drifted a bit and some of the oysters landed in areas with significant silt.)

Here is a link to oyster-blogger Josh's write up Josh's photos

The day ended well. Now we wait and see how they do.

There have been some other nice developments. We had press coverage extended out to the Worcester Telegram..

Here is a link to the Article in the Boston Herald.

Other non-profits are begginning to show an interest in getting involved. The wave is beginning to grow.

We have so much still to do. We hope to file three more grants in the next month to position us better for the future. Remember MOP is all volunteer so the funds we raise go into our Harbor!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Island Creek- More than oysters Looking good for Sunday Placement

MOP is buying 50,000 seed oysters for Sunday's placement event from Island Creek Oysters. These guys have been terrific in terms of sharing information, moral support, etc. But they do more than sell their delicious oysters to the finest restaurants around the country. They have a foundation that is involved in numerous charities, these extend from Duxbury to helping develop sustainable aquaculture in parts of Africa!

They also do more than oysters. Tonight my family will be feasting on scallops and razor clams we purchased through their on-line store. Here is the link-Island Creek Store

It looks like things are looking good for Sunday. We have an awesome group of volunteers coming to pitch in and have fun. (This crew would make a terrific cocktail party invitation list- with college professors, bloggers, scientists, environmentalists, teachers, divers, students and more.)

The weather appears to be cooperating, but we place them rain or shine.

Let the oysters flourish!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Oyster Placement comng together nicely! Interesting presentation on oyster disease.

We have had a nice response to our request for volunteers on October 25th for placing the oysters. It will be good for everyone to get together, meet up and pitch in. With a good turn-out the workload should be fun and not burdensome.

Below is a link discussing an oyster disease- Dermo and Wellfleet harbor. Diseases such as Dermo and MSX continue to put pressure on oyster populations along the Atlantic coast.

We are creating a sanctuary population in Boston Harbor, that we hope will be isolated from this condition. It is our understanding that our oysters come from a source that is not infected.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Belle Isle Marsh Festival MOP NOAA Presentation on-line

On Sunday, MOP had a tabel at the Belle Isle Marsh Festival in Winthrop. Our table included an overview of our restoration effort, some of our oysters (pulled freshly from a cage in the Charles estuary) literature and t-shirts for sale. While getting there was challenging due to filming of the latest Ben Affleck movie in Charlestown, it was well worth fighting the unexpected traffic hassles. The Marsh is beautiful and the event was fun! Children loved holding the oysters and the shrimp swimmng among them. They also had hayrides, a critter exhibit and pumking decorating.

We focused on three messages.
1. An oyster can filter 30 gallons of water per day.
2. Oysters add to biodiversity with up to 200 other species living on a reef. (The shrimp aptly illustrated this.)
3. The oysters can survive in the harbor. We had oysters survive last winter and the oysters are growing well in the cage. We just need to find the right location on the bottom.

We have posted the presentation we gave at the July NOAA meeting on slideshare. You can see it here.