Early Events to get POWeR started
July 4, 2003 Two Parades!
July 27, 2003 GALA KICK-OFF
August 9, 2003 Blessing of the Fleet Festival
August 23, 2003 Shell Bagging
September 13, 2003 Oyster gardening workshop
November 13, 2003 Elmer Carroll Benning Sanctuary established
May 21, 2004 First plantings
June 27, 2004 First Oyster Return Day with pictures
August 26, 2004 First Oyster Spat Delivery Day
June 12, 2005 Second Oyster Return Day
July 6, 2005 Additional Shell placed on site #1
September 23, 2005 2005 Oyster Spat Delivery Day
October 16, 2005 West River Oyster Festival
July 4, 2003

Two Parades!

We built a float and marched in the parade at Shady Side in the morning and Galesville in the afternoon. This got people's attention and advertised the Gala Kickoff on July 27.

July 27, 2003

GALA KICK-OFF - from 1-4 at the Galesville Community Hall.

Was a great success. We were pleased to see so many people.
Here are a few pictures from the event.
Click the Oyster Gardening tab on the main page for details on how to become one!

August 9, 2003

Blessing of the Fleet Festival - Discovery Village, Shady Side, MD.

We had a table there. Former Governor Robert Ehrlich views oysters filtering the water.

August 23, 2003

Shell Bagging - Discovery Village, Shady Side, MD.

August 30, 2003

Shell Bagging - Discovery Village, Shady Side, MD.

September 13, 2003

Oyster gardening workshop at the Salem Avery House in Shady Side - 10 AM to 1 PM

Despite the rain we had an excellant turnout.

September 20, 2003

Shell Bagging - Discovery Village, Shady Side, MD.

November 13, 2003
Our oyster sanctuary, named in honor of Elmer Carroll Benning and located within a leased bottom, has been established at the mouth of Tenthouse Creek. We have been given a 1-acre section of this 5-acre leasehold to establish the sanctuary. It is located on the side of the shallow bar that marks the southern edge of the creek near the marina. The depth at the sanctuary is around 6 feet, but it rapidly becomes shallower towards the southern side. The bottom was found to be reasonably firm and made a good base for the old oyster shells that were put down to form the bed of the reef. Although we put down two boatloads of shell, once they are spread out over an acre they generally rise less than a foot off the bottom.

We were fortunate to have available some one-year old oysters from an oyuster gardener and they were placed on the reef right away to kick things off.

Meanwhile we held a very successful workshop to train new oyster gardeners to grow oysters at their docks. We trained 20 families at the workshop and another 3 families were trained at other CBF workshops, but are part of the POWeR family. It is expected that these families will return their oysters to us in the spring and that we should see thousands of adult oysters planted on the reef at that time.

However, it is also important to add baby oysters to the reef to provide the multi-generational aspect that makes for a healthy ecological system. In several trips with the CBF oyster boat, the Patricia Campbell, we put down over a million baby oysters as spat-on-shell. All of these babies were raised at the Discovery Village facility of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Mid-September, 2003
Following Hurricane Isabel we checked the reef and found no particular change to its characteristics. We also did not hear from any gardeners who lost their cages in the storm (although some people lost much of their piers, the oysters hung on!)

We have received significant help and encouragment from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Galesville and Shady Side communities and the Salem Avery House.

May 21, 2004
The first oysters from CBF gardeners were planted on the reef. More were planted on June 4. These oysters would have been planted in Herring Bay or the Patuxent River previously, but because they were grown in our area, they were planted on our reef instead. Any retrurns to the CBF program that are suitable for the West River will be planted on our reef.

See the Elmer Carroll Benning Oyster Sanctuary section for the log of plantings.

June 27, 2004
Oyster Return Day
Oysters were returned from our first class of gardeners. We received over 6,000 oysters, almost all of good size and density. Congratulations and thanks to all the gardeners. If your oysters did not do well, please try again. This was a really strange winter and we had exceptionally low tides just when the long stretch of cold weather was at its coldest.
A lot of gardeners took our boat trip out to the reef and personally delivered to their oysters to their new homes.

Click on these images to see bigger pictures.

August 26, 2004
Oyster Spat Delivery Day
June 6, 2005
Sanctuary Site #2

Site number 2 is an oyster lease site (AA536) that was acquired in the name of POWeR committee member DJ Springuel. It consists of a 1/4 acre portion of a 7 acre lease site in the West River off the Shady Side community of Westerly. On June 6, 2005 POWeR funded the delivery and placement of 70 tons of oyster shell with another 70 tons placed on June 7. This will form the base of the new reef on which live oysters will be planted. Conditions of water quality at this site are similar to those at the first site (the Elmer Carroll Benning Sanctuary), but the bottom is steeply sloping from about 9 feet of water up to 4 feet. There are areas as shallow as two feet nearby, so it is not in the path of boat traffic. In any event the shell form a layer less than a foot thick.

June 12, 2005
Oyster Return Day

1-4 at the Galesville Community Dock. Watch for pictures here.

Twenty gardeners returned 10,672 oysters. Some gardeners did better than last year and some not as well. Overall it was a good year for the oysters and the returns by our West River growers are similar to what we are seeing elsewhere - many good healthy oysters from a lot of gardeners, but also some with high mortality. In some cases the gardens had as many dead oysters as live. But some people had very few dead oysters. Those in shallow areas seem to have had the most trouble, although in a couple of cases those same people did very well last year.

July 6, 2005
Spat placed on site #2

POWeR site #2 is named the Springuel Reef, as the lease is held by D. J. Springuel. 715,968 spat were planted by CBF on July 6.

September 21, 2005
Shell added to site #1

An additional 5 tons of shell became available and was placed by CBF on the NE corner os site #1 to fill in some space left empty in the original construction of the reef.

September 23, 2005
Spat delivered to POWeR gardeners

Spat for the 2005-2006 season have been distributed to the gardeners at both CBF spat days and the POWeR spat event in Galesville.

October 16, 2005
West River Oyster Festival at the Salem Avery House