There are jobs for all ages at a concrete reef build. Handout photo.

Build Reef Balls for Choptank River Oysters

Looking for a summer project, or just an excuse to hang out on the Eastern Shore? ShoreRivers and the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Maryland need your help to build new homes for Choptank River oysters.

The homes they’re building are reef balls: hollow, concrete domes pocketed with holes. Oysters attach themselves to these concrete structures and begin to grow, making a three-dimensional reef. Not only does the reef benefit the oysters, it becomes habitat for many other species, like fish. Those fish attract bigger fish, making reefs popular places for anglers.

This project is part of the ShoreRivers/CCA Maryland Living Reef Action Campaign, creating and restoring oyster reef habitat while engaging local communities to learn about oyster reefs. Volunteers will gather in Easton in July and August, and in Cambridge in August and September. Each reef ball build will take place over the course of two mornings. The first morning, volunteers with build the mold and fill it with concrete. Once it sets overnight, the reef ball is unmolded and unveiled on the second morning. Volunteers are welcome to come for just one or both days of the build, and there’s a job for all ages.

The finished reef balls will be placed in the Choptank River beneath the Bill Burton Fishing pier, allowing oysters to clean the water and providing even more fishing opportunities there.

Reef ball builds will be held at the Easton Point Marina (975 Port Street, Easton) on July 15 and 16, and Aug. 7
and 8 from 9 a.m.–noon. Additional builds will be held at Sailwinds Park in Cambridge on Aug. 19 and 20, and Sept. 25 and 26 from 9 a.m.–noon.

Sign up to volunteer or get more information from ShoreRivers’ Community Engagement Coordinator Amy Narimatsu at [email protected] or call 410.810.7556 ext 253.

Meg Walburn Viviano