Restoration in Maryland

Planting a living shoreline in Annapolis, Maryland. Photo by CBF Staff

Girl holding a plant during a CBF restoration projectIn Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) restores the Bay's essential habitats and species through several types of hands-on projects. Each year, thousands of volunteers work in the field with staff to plant trees, shrubs, and grasses; create habitats; and raise oysters for release. CBF restoration projects are held year-round throughout the state, so join us, and spend a day enjoying the Bay while restoring its resources.

Tree Plantings

Watershed restoration projects restore the Bay's essential habitats and filtering mechanisms, such as forested buffers, wetlands, and underwater grasses. Hundreds of volunteers help plant thousands of native trees and shrubs each year across the state--from Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore. Many of the projects are through CBF's Farm Stewardship Program, which provides plants to create forested buffers, installs fences to keep cattle out of streams and wetlands, and provides technical assistance to help restore water quality to local streams. Planting buffers is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce pollution in local rivers, streams, and the Bay; fencing cattle out of streams improves herd health and also helps reduce runoff.

To date, more than 40,000 feet of stream banks in the Antietam Watershed are protected, thanks to the efforts of approximately 850 volunteers. Another targeted watershed is the Monocacy where buffer projects are continuing. The success of these programs is the result of both the interest and willingness of landowners to install these practices, and the commitment of partner organizations and hundreds of volunteers to get the work done.

Find out how you can help plant trees in Maryland.

Oyster Bed Restoration

The billions of oysters that once lived in the Bay served as natural water filters to help keep the Bay clean, and their reefs provided a rich habitat for a variety of aquatic life. Today, the Bay's oyster population is at only two percent of historic levels because of overharvesting, disease, and pollution. Oysters are vital to the Bay's overall health, and CBF is dedicated to restoring the oyster population. Through their oyster gardening program, staff and volunteers build oyster reefs, and grow and plant oysters, including using ones grown through the program.

CONSERVE & RESTORE: Oyster Restoration


The Chesapeake Bay’s oyster, Crassostrea virginica, is a vital part of the Bay's ecosystem and culture, but the population has been reduced to about two percent of its Colonial-era level. To help reverse this decline, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is committed to in-the-Bay restoration efforts that will bring back the oyster.

Oyster Restoration Center
At our Oyster Restoration Center (ORC), located at the Discovery Village in southern Anne Arundel County, we grow oysters that will be placed on oyster reefs in the Bay. Check out What's New at the ORC for upcoming volunteer activities.

Oyster Gardening
CBF’s oyster gardening program gives people the opportunity to help bring back this vital species by growing oysters alongside their docks. Once grown, the adult oysters are returned to CBF for planting on sanctuary (non-harvest) reefs.

Save Oyster Shell
Oyster shells are becoming increasingly scarce. Through the Save Oyster Shell program, shells that would typically be thrown away are saved and used in a variety of oyster restoration projects.

Already a MD oyster gardener?
Learn more about Oyster Returning Dates, locations and times.

The Patricia Campbell

This state-of-the-art oyster restoration vessel is the flagship of CBF’s fleet. The Patricia Campbell is capable of placing more than 40 tons of oyster shell on barren bay-bottom to serve as seed ground for future reefs. You can see the Patricia Campbell at the ORC.

For information about CBF's oyster programs, send an e-mail to

University of Maryland, Paynter Labs
Oyster Recovery Partnership
Discovery Village
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

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