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Oysters on the Half Shell

Location(s): Pt Pinole, Marin Rod and Gun Club, other locations around the Bay

Website: www.thewatershedproject.org

Oysters on the Half Shell is a program of educational and community outreach that complements the work of the San Francisco Bay Native Oyster Working Group. The Watershed Project recruits volunteers to participate in oyster monitoring workdays, and has developed a multi-part high school curriculum that includes both in-class and field trip stewardship components.

In addition to studying techniques and substrates for recruiting native oysters, the team is investigating the relationship between oysters and eelgrass. More recent test sites include integrated plots of eelgrass and oyster substrate. The integrated sites are better habitat and allow for larger plots that make for better monitoring results.

Both eelgrass and oysters provide cleaner water. The oysters do it by filter feeding, and the long, slender, waving blades of eelgrass collect water-borne particles. As the water clarifies, eelgrass flourishes at greater depths; the detritus of an eelgrass bed provides food for oysters and myriad other species. Eelgrass provides habitat for herring to spawn and larval and juvenile herring are the main food source for migrating salmonid smolts. As biodiversity increases in restored areas, waterfowl also benefit.

The research and restoration work occurs most actively during the spring, summer and fall.

For more information, including dates of upcoming restoration activities, contact Juliana Gonzalez at The Watershed Project: Juliana (at) thewatershedproject.org