PSRF works to rebuild Olympia oyster populations by restoring native oysters and providing shell habitat to support population recovery. We focus our efforts at 19 priority locations throughout Puget Sound identified in Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife’s (WDFW) updated Olympia oyster Stock Rebuilding Plan. Our work with partners on the ground and research conducted at our conservation hatchery broadly support WDFW’s Olympia oyster recovery efforts. Working as partners leads to results.
Our goal is to re-establish self-sustaining native oyster beds to provide filtration and structured habitat for a diverse community of organisms.
Pollution, over-harvest and habitat loss caused the numbers of Olys to plummet over the last 70 years.
The Olympia Oyster was once an icon of Washington state. Tasty beyond compare, Olympia oysters keep our estuaries clean as each one filters from 10-40 gallons of water each day. One of PSRF's core commitments is to continue to restore Olympia oyster habitat throughout Puget Sound. Read more about our 10-year, 100 acre goal.
To thrive, native oysters propagate in expanses of biogenic habitat commonly referred to as “oyster beds.”
Due to commercial exploitation of rich intertidal deposits of native oysters, large natural beds of those oysters are nearly gone. Today, less than 4% of historic core populations remain in Puget Sound. Native oyster beds occur where physical conditions are amenable to the formation of habitat structure. To learn more about the rich history of the Olympia oyster and its connection to Puget Sound, click below for to read more about the book "The Living Shore" by friend of PSRF, Rowan Jacobsen.
Pacific oyster shells help re-establish Olympia oyster habitat and, ultimately, populations.
PSRF partners with tribes, industry, government, scientists, and community groups to enhance tide flats by spreading numerous acres of Pacific oyster shell. Shell provides structure for settlement of larval Olympia oysters. It turns out, Olys love the rough, craggy surface Pacific oyster shell provides. We spray shell from barges throughout priority areas in Puget Sound. Take a moment and watch just how we do it.
A powerful natural filtration system and a local food source. What more could you want?
Historically, Tribes in our region sited villages near large beds of Olympia oysters, and harvest of Olys supported a strong industry in South Puget Sound. Olys filter seawater to extract and feed on phytoplankton, providing a natural system to keep waters clean. PSRF is connected to the history of this unique food source while enhancing our ecosystem. Watch this video excerpt from the documentary "Common Ground" depicting the much-needed filtration oysters provide in time-lapse.
Our goal is to continue to build living oyster bed habitat in priority waters.
In 2017, PSRF completed a native oyster restoration project in Port Gamble Bay, where we produced 1.2 million oysters and restored 10-acres of habitat. We spread 1,500 yards of Pacific oyster shell along the shoreline at tidal elevations that will support native oyster communities in the long-term. To date, PSRF and partners have restored 67 acres of oyster habitat. Our work would be impossible without financial support. Please consider helping us continue this vital restoration work.
10-year, 100-acre goal
The restoration methods that we’ve developed and refined over the years are yielding positive results like 10 acres of restored habitat in Liberty Bay (right). As of 2018, 67 acres of Olympia oyster habitat has been restored in priority locations throughout Puget Sound. Restoration efforts are underway in many of the Sound’s remaining 19 priority areas because of participation of many tideland owners, continued interest of the press, and generous support from a throng of partners.
Port Gamble Bay Project
Our efforts to provide biogenic habitat structure have been a success in Port Gamble Bay. Through this 6-year restoration project, funded by the Washington Department of Ecology, we enhanced settlement structure and produced 1.2 million oysters to boost Olympia oyster breeding throughout the Bay. Watch this video to learn more.