Seeking Help to Create Foundation for Oyster Restoration

July 19, 2013
Reef Ball 1

Reef Ball 1

The St. Mary’s River Watershed Association wishes to invite members of the community to lend a hand creating reef balls which will become the foundation for the growing three-dimensional oyster habitat in the St. Mary’s River. These reef balls, full of nooks and crannies and holes, give growing oysters an ideal place to grow and thrive and the Association would like to construct 300 to 400 within the next six weeks.

With the molds on loan from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Association has set up shop at Sanners Lane in Lexington Park, where Carruth & Son, Inc. provide the concrete.

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays they will be filling the molds and on Tuesdays and Thursday, breaking the reef balls free and finishing up the cycle.

Several groups have already signed on to help with this vital part of the oyster restoration project with planned workdays for a group of teachers, the staff of Bert’s 50’s Diner, a scout troop and Rotary members.

Reef Ball 2

Reef Ball 2

Groups of all kinds are welcome to volunteer and set up their own workday, with 30 reef balls dedicated in their name. This is a wonderful opportunity for businesses, youth groups, churches, or clubs to be part of something important and learn about what is being done to protect the local watershed and revitalize the local oyster population.

Individuals wishing to help, and maybe even bring their children along, are welcome to join in as well. It’s an interesting process to watch and take part in and one that will make a genuine difference.

Batches of these reef balls will be placed in the St. Mary’s River oyster sanctuary beginning in August and volunteer opportunities abound for getting to better understand the importance of replenishing the pollutant-eating oyster population and learning about the small changes that can lead to a significant impact for the health of the watershed and its many inhabitants.

Reef Ball 3

Reef Ball 3

Most reef ball making days will begin around 8 a.m. and those interested just need to call ahead to (301) 247-6047.

For more information on this and other projects the St. Mary’s River Watershed Association is involved in, visit

Reef Ball 1: Karl Willey, manager of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Oyster Restoration Center, (right), helps Association staff and interns get the hang of directing the cement truck and filling the reef ball molds to the correct level.

Reef Ball 2: Several molds await helping hands to turn them into reef balls, which will become homes to oysters and a bevy of other aquatic creatures once in the St. Mary’s River.

Reef Ball 3: St. Mary’s River Watershed Association executive director Bob Lewis (left) shows STEM intern Jared Kimmey and project supervisor David Wood how to tamp down the cement after it’s poured.

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