Thousands of oysters find new home in the Lafayette River

Posted at 5:07 PM, May 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-27 17:07:52-04

Norfolk, Va. - Hundreds of thousands of oysters were splashing into their new home in the Lafayette River.

"Our goal this year is to transplant ten million oysters to the Lafayette River and today we planted the first 300,000 of those," says Jackie Shannon with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

These are microscopic oysters that will hopefully grow, reproduce and return the Lafayette to the days when it was an oyster hot spot.

"Overharvesting, taking out too many oysters before they could spawn, that coupled with oyster diseases that came about made it very challenging to restore a resource that's only a fraction of what it was historically,” says Shannon.

Different environmental groups, along with Senator Tim Kaine spent the day dumping the oysters into their new home.

"Local citizens and school groups that do oyster gardening and then plant the oysters like we did today and then there is also a federal component, the Army Corps of Engineers and NOAA have been major investors in oyster restorations,” says Kaine.

You do as well when you go to the oyster bar.

Many of the oyster shells that you see being dumped into the river have been recycled from local restaurants. They're basically incubators for the baby oysters.

If you look closely enough you can see these little discolored dots which are the oysters. In about three years, they'll be big enough to fill an entire shell.

"When we come back out and sample in a couple of months, most of those oysters will probably be about an inch-inch and a half long,” says Shannon.

Hopefully all the oysters will help clean up the Lafayette.

"An adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a year so when we talk about putting out millions of oysters, that's a lot of water that can be cleaned by these animals,” says

They're as tasty as they are important.

Hopefully with a few hundred thousand more friends, these oysters will once again make the Lafayette River “Oyster Central.”