Completed Research: Native Oyster Restoration Monitoring (NORM) Program

Bay in cooperation with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC), the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), and the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office (CBO). This program is a multi year comprehensive effort designed to facilitate rehabilitation and restoration of native Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) stocks in the lower portion of the Chesapeake Bay. The collaborative effort focuses on rehabilitation and restoration of Chesapeake Bay oyster populations by a combination of:

  • Restoring physical two dimensional and three dimensional reef structures at selected sites in Chesapeake Bay tributaries that historically sustained natural oyster populations.
  • Restoration activities on these historic reef footprints will consist of shell plantings (2 dimensional reefs) or reef construction from oyster shell materials (3 dimensional). 
  • Establishing populations of native oysters on restored (constructed) oyster shell habitat through deployment of disease resistant cultured oysters combined with natural annual settlement events from existing oyster stocks within the tributary of interest.
  • Restoration sites are locations at which shell planting, reef construction, addition of broodstock oysters, and/or natural annual settlement events have occurred. 
  • Monitoring oyster populations at restoration sites over time to provide biological data to support adaptive management strategies, objectively evaluate progress towards established restoration goals or success criteria, and identify unexpected stresses that positively or negatively effect the restoration project over time.

Within the collaborative effort, the Norfolk ACOE district is responsible for planning and implementing reef and restoration project construction in coordination with the VMRC Conservation and Replenishment Division and VIMS. CBF is responsible for providing disease tolerant oysters from their oyster gardening and public outreach programs. VIMS is responsible for developing and executing a comprehensive monitoring strategy at selected ACOE restoration sites in the Virginia portion of the Chesapeake Bay. This monitoring strategy involves multiple monitoring elements and has the overall objective of providing biological data to evaluate Chesapeake Bay ACOE oyster restoration projects over time.
This web site is designed to provide information related to specific restoration sites and/or specific monitoring programs in progress at those sites in a format suitable for evaluating biological trends with respect to restoration history over time. Maps, graphs and data summaries on this site are updated quarterly. Information from this site should be cited accordingly with the original source for all maps, graphs, and data clearly identified.
Related projects include: