A big job, simplified

Published 9:59 pm Tuesday, May 30, 2017

When it comes to cleaning up the Nansemond River, the job can seem to be just too big for any one person to make much of a difference.

But the truth is that nature has provided a means to help mankind in the effort, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is hoping to encourage area residents to take advantage of that help.

Beginning in June, the CBF will hold oyster gardening classes aimed at teaching area residents how easy it is to grow nature’s best water cleansers alongside their own riverfront properties or in public areas where permission to do so has been granted.

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An adult oyster can filter pollutants from up to 50 gallons of water per day. Restoring oysters to areas along the Nansemond River would, therefore, prove incredibly helpful toward the goal of restoring that river to a pristine state.

Under the CBF program, participants will receive two small cages with more than 400 oyster spats, or babies, each. Raising those oysters is simply a matter of dropping the cage into the water, checking it periodically to make sure it’s clear of debris and crabs and then returning the full-grown oysters to the CBF for planting in sanctuary reefs in a year.

There is no cost associated with participating, though folks are encouraged to contribute $25 for the cost of the oyster spats.

Homeowners who live along the river, along with marina owners and fishermen, are all especially encouraged to participate, and those who do not have access to private riverfront property can work with the foundation to find a public area where they can grow their oysters.

CBF will hold seminars in Newport News on June 22 at 6 p.m. at the Mariners’ Museum, and in Hampton on June 27 at 6 p.m. at the Hampton Yacht Club. There will also be seminars in Virginia Beach on June 10 at 9 a.m. at the Brock Environmental Center and in Norfolk on June 20 at 6 p.m. at the Norfolk Yacht & Country Club.

Those who would like to participate can get more information online at cbf.org/vaoystergardening or by calling 809-2939.

Cleaning the river might be more than you can do alone, but if enough folks in Suffolk participate and get a little help from our oyster friends, the job can be done.