New Road for Maryland Oyster Industry

March 10, 2013

oystersMorgan’s ERC Study Maps a New Road for Maryland Oyster Industry

A new report from Morgan State University’s Estuarine Research Center (ERC) examines whether old roads can help grow new oysters in the Chesapeake Bay.

The study, led by researchers at ERC, may help revitalize the Maryland oyster industry. Oyster shells have diminished below the point needed to build new reefs. This research tested whether recycled concrete from road projects could be used as conditioning material for on-bottom oyster aquaculture.

Lab results showed that recycled concrete does not harm oyster growth, the surrounding aquatic environment, or drinking water. There were also no significant differences between oysters grown on old oyster shell, the traditional and increasingly scarce conditioning material, and oysters grown on recycled concrete.

“This project will help provide the aquaculture industry with base materials for oyster reefs, private industry with a way to dispose of reclaimed products, and transportation agencies will be better able to meet their goals of increasing the use of recycled materials and to use their products in an environmentally friendly way,” says Dr. Kelton Clark, director of the ERC.

The Maryland State Highway Administration is sponsoring a second phase of this study, which will involve field tests of recycled concrete in the Chesapeake Bay.

The full report, “Evaluation of Waste Concrete Road Materials for Use in Oyster Aquaculture,” can be found online at:

For more information, please contact Dr. Kelton Clark at 410-586-9706 (, or Dr. Andrew Farkas at 443-885-3666 ( or visit

Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie classified Doctoral Research Institution offering more than 70 academic programs leading to bachelors degrees as well as programs at the masters and doctoral levels. As Maryland’s Public Urban University, Morgan serves a multi-ethnic and multi-racial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. For more information on Morgan State University, visit

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