Olympia Oyster Restoration

Current efforts to rebuild native oyster populations have generated a groundswell of activity. This 25-minute film captures some of the characters and activities involved in rebuilding a storied population that has beckoned humans to the shore for thousands of years. Film by Shelly Solomon of Leaping Frog Films.

Rebuilding Olympia oyster populations in Puget Sound provides critical habitat and water quality attributes upon which other species depend.  Olympia oyster enhancement efforts in Puget Sound – ranging from seeding to habitat enhancements – have been underway since 1999. PSRF and its partners are aiming to restore 100 acres of Olympia oyster habitat by 2020 by utilizing genetically diverse hatchery propagated oyster seed and integrating various restoration materials and methods.  To date, this collaborative effort has resulted in over 30 acres of enhanced native oyster habitat with over 100 partners. Current strategies target areas with limited settlement structure, like rocks and shell, but where there is still larval production from nearby remnant populations. Examples include Liberty Bay, Dogfish Bay, Henderson Inlet, Fidalgo Bay and Raab’s Lagoon. Distributing a base layer of shell in these areas allows native oysters to re-occupy historic habitat while also preserving the genetic integrity of local populations.

Implementation of this multifaceted effort is owed in large part to the willing participation of many tideland owners, the continued interest of the press, and generous support from a throng of partners too numerous to list. Particular thanks are owed The Nature Conservancy, NOAA CRP, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, commercial growers and tribes for their ongoing support.


This video shows two four liter aquariums side by side. There are 60 manila clams are in one on right, none in one on left. 300,000 cells of algae per milliliter have been added to both aquariums. The timelapse captures 28 minutes in 15 seconds. This video demonstrates the incredible ability of bivalve shellfish to filter and improve the water clarity in the bays in which they grow.


Excerpt from The Chesapeake Bay Foundation's documentary "Common Ground"
Oysters provide much-needed filtration of Chesapeake Bay waters, habitat for other aquatic life, and a modest commercial harvest. CBF estimates the oyster population to be as low as 4 percent of historic levels. Restoring the Chesapeake's native oyster population is key to bringing back the Bay's health.