Don’t Chuck Your Shucks oyster shell program gears up for 3rd season

Don’t Chuck Your Shucks, a partnership between the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays (CIB), the Nature Conservancy in Delaware, andlocal restaurantsis gearing up for a third season.

This recycling program collects discarded oyster shell for use in oyster restoration projects in the Inland Bays.

Inland Bays kicked-off its third full season of “Don’t Chuck Your Shucks” with the collection of sixteen bushels of shell from the Georgetown Fire Company’s 80th Oyster Eat, on February 24th. Last year, Don’t Chuck Your Shucks collected 2,700 bushels of shell, a goal it hopes to exceed by collecting 3,000 bushels in 2017.

Participating restaurants inlcude 99 Sea Level, Bethany Oyster House, Bluecoast Seafood Grill, Catch 54, Chesapeake & Maine, Fish On, George & Sons Seafood Market, Hammerheads Dockside, Henlopen City Oyster House, Hooked, Hooked-up, Irish Eyes Pub & Restaurant, Just Hooked, Twining’s Lobster Shanty, Matt’s Fish Camp, Off the Hook, Smitty McGees, The Starboard Raw, and Zoggs Raw Bar & Grill.

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When customers order clams or oysters, their discarded shells are diverted from the landfill, collected and “cured” for six months before being put to use.

The end product will bagged and used for Living Shoreline stabilization projects, natural oyster reefs in the Bays, and the Inland Bay’s Oyster Gardening Programwhich raises oysters for restoration efforts and provides water quality benefits to small local waterways.
CIB Project Manager, Bob Collins, says, “Water-filtering bivalves (like oysters, clams and mussels), require a hard surface on which they can grow – and oyster shell is perfect for this! As a bonus, small aquatic organisms, which serve as a food source for commercially valuable crabs and fish, also use this shell for habitat.”

In 2016, the CIB hosted several “bagging events” at which volunteers prepared 1,500 bags of shell for use in bay-friendly projects.

The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is a non-profit organization established in 1994. The organization works to preserve, protect and restore Delaware’s Inland Bays, the water that flows into them, and the watershed.

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