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Nonnative Oysters in the Chesapeake Bay
establish functional reef communities that perform specific ecological services contributing to the overall water quality, nutrient cycling, hydrodynamics, and habitat aspects of the estuarine system; and
increase harvests that result in revenues that provide economic benefits to all sectors of the oyster industry.
Although restoration efforts have made limited progress in establishing sustainable oyster populations, there remains some optimism that a more comprehensive management approach will ultimately achieve recovery of the oyster resource. A comprehensive management approach relies on applying a more stringent genetic improvement component to develop disease-resistant strains based on newly emerging technologies; selecting locations where environmental conditions are favorable for recruitment, growth, and survival; designing and constructing optimal reef habitat; avoiding disease, including growing oysters in areas or in a manner that reduces the chance of infection and not using infected seed; managing multiyear class distributions for sustainability; and providing a long-term time frame for success.
Restoration efforts have cultural-environmental meaning in addition to ecological and economic benefits. Some of this cultural-environmental meaning is linked to values, beliefs, and perceptions that individuals draw on for protecting and maintaining their environmental heritage. This is particularly important given the environmental value and positive meaning applied to things native, pristine, and historic in the Chesapeake Bay.