News from the DNR Office of Communications

12 Organizations Join In Marylanders Grow Oysters Program

Applications from Interested NGOs Still Being Accepted

Annapolis, MD - Maryland’s citizen oyster growing program has invited 12 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to coordinate oyster growing efforts in their local tributaries in 2009. Launched by Governor Martin O’Malley in September 2008, Marylanders Grow Oysters fosters stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay among citizens, and creates living oyster reef populations in protected sanctuaries to help restore the iconic species.

“We are thrilled that these organizations have been selected and will help expand this exciting program,” said Governor O’Malley. “By becoming leaders in their tributaries for Maryland’s oyster growing efforts, they will inspire others to become stewards of our waterways and promote healthy, plentiful oyster populations for many years to come.”

These 12 NGOs, located in 11 different tributaries in Maryland, will act as local project coordinators who will identify waterfront property owners willing to become oyster growers and deliver oyster cages and oysters to growers in the tributary.


Magothy River





St. Mary’s


San Domingo

La Trappe




Magothy River Association

Severn River Association

South River Federation

Coastal Conservation Association and Southern MD Oyster Cultivation Society

Wicomico Scenic River Commission

St. Mary’s River Watershed Association

Corsica River Conservancy

Environmental Concern

Environmental Concern

ORP and Nanticoke River Watershed Association

Annemessex Ridge Property Owners Association

Through the program, citizen volunteers tend to young oysters growing in wire mesh cages suspended from private piers for their first year of life. The oyster spat and cages are provided by DNR and other program partners at no charge to the volunteers. The oysters require minimal care – mostly rinsing the cages every two weeks.

Citizen oyster growers enjoy the personal rewards of stewardship and learn about oysters while contributing to the enhancement of an oyster reef in their local tributary. The year-old oysters are then collected and planted in a local oyster sanctuary, and a new group of young oysters are distributed to participating growers to start the process again.

The program still welcomes interested NGOs to apply for 2009. Visit to obtain an application, and contact Chris Judy at 410-260-8259 or for any additional information.

The Marylanders Grow Oysters Program is being managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in conjunction with the Oyster Recovery Partnership, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. For more information about Marylanders Grow Oysters visit

Introduced by Governor Martin O’Malley in October 2008, Maryland’s Smart, Green & Growing initiative was created to strengthen the state’s leadership role in fostering smarter, more sustainable growth and inspiring action among all Marylanders to achieve a more sustainable future. The initiative brings together state agencies, local governments, businesses and citizens to create more livable communities, improve transportation options, reduce the state’s carbon footprint, support resource based industry, invest in green technologies, preserve valuable resource lands and restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

   June 15, 2009

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at