WASHINGTON -- Local restaurants that rely on fresh seafood from the Chesapeake Bay are banding together for the Oyster Recovery Partnership's latest sustainability campaign, "From the Bay, For the Bay."
Between Oct. 2 and 9, participating restaurants will donate $1 from every Maryland seafood dinner sold to benefit the oyster sustainability project. One buck translates to 100 baby oysters planted back into the bay, which combined can filter up to 5,000 gallons of water a day, according to a media advisory. Right now, the list of participating restaurants is massive and spans several states within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. In the mix are several D.C.-area eateries, including Matchbox, Bistro Bis, Kinkead's, Hank's Oyster Bar, Equinox and Graffiato.
Interestingly, some restaurants, like Matchbox and Graffiato, have nary an oyster items on their menus. That doesn't mean they don't have anything to gain from a healthier bivalve population -- oysters serve as filters for the Chesapeake's water, cleaning it and creating a healthier ecosystem for fish that may wind up on local plates.
The role of oysters in the larger ecosystem is something the Oyster Recovery Partnership is working to publicize. Earlier this month, the project partnered with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in delivering 20 cages of oyster spat to the Chesapeake Montessori School in Annapolis. Students there will monitor oyster growth in Whitehall Creek and learn about how water quality and the Chesapeake Bay watershed's health affects oyster development.
Since 2000, the Oyster Recovery Partnership and its coalition of partners have planted nearly three billion oysters in the bay.VIDEO: Kids Help Save the Bay By Planting Oysters