From the CYT'sWeek 3 of CYTS
August 3, 2016
HEAR IT FROM OUR CONSERVATION YOUTH TEAM: WEEK 3
Have you ever thought about what keeps the water clean besides man-made filters? Or where the idea for man-made filters even came from? Recently, we had a conservation event about oyster restoration and employees from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation met us at the zoo and explained the importance of oysters.
Most of us had never even thought about oysters or were aware that they keep the waters clean from harmful bacteria or small litter. We learned interesting facts like how oysters can filter out up to 50 gallons of water a day and how back then they could clean a whole body of water in just 4 to 5 days! They explained to us that the oysters can’t clean water as fast anymore because of all the litter being thrown into the water, which is why the bodies of water today are not as clean as they could be. Now it takes 3 to 4 months for the oysters to clean the waters. They let us help with a project that a girl scout started which is to collect all of the waste oyster shells from restaurants, introduce larvae to them, and make more oysters to dump into dirtier water areas. By dumping the new oysters into the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding rivers, we are close to getting it very clean, although it will never return to its formal cleanliness because of all of the litter.
This experience has changed the views that we CYT’s have regarding oysters. We now know that when you eat oysters at a restaurant, you should recycle the shells and also pick up garbage when you see it on the floor to help keep the waters clean. If we are able to restore the oyster population, then finding fresh water will no longer be an issue!
-Selma & Daniel