Tilghman Islanders Grow Oysters (TIGO)
PWEC is your Local Coordinator for the Marylanders Grow Oysters program. MGO is a program designed to foster stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay and enhance living oyster bars in sanctuaries. Through the cooperative efforts of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and numerous partners, there are 18 rivers and approximately 8,000 cages currently growing oysters. We at PWEC have nicknamed our program TIGO – Tilghman’s Islanders Grow Oysters – and we hope everyone on Tilghman’s Island with access to waterfront or a boat slip will join us. You can watch a brief video on the project from the Star-Democrat .
PWEC has placed 400 oyster cages with 82 growers on Tilghman’s Island, Bay Hundred, and Harris Creek. Our goal is to have cages on every pier on Tilghman’s Island! If you own waterfront with a pier on Tilghman’s Island, the Bay-side of Bay Hundred, or Harris Creek, PWEC WANTS YOU! Residential or commercial, it doesn’t matter. If you keep your boat at a marina on Tilghman, PWEC WANTS YOU! Please volunteer to grow oysters with us.
Through this fun, educational program, citizen volunteers tend young oysters growing in wire mesh cages suspended from piers for their first year of life. The oyster spat and cages are provided by DNR at no charge to PWEC, and we distribute them to our TIGO growers. The oysters require minimal care – mostly sloshing the cages up and down in the water every week or two. Growers enjoy the personal rewards of stewardship while contributing to the enhancement of an oyster bar in their area. After about 9 to 10 months, the oysters are collected and planted on a sanctuary bar in Harris Creek, and a new group of spat are distributed to participating growers to start the process again. Two of our volunteer growers are featured on the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Restoration Spotlight blog.
One important component of PWEC’s project is a rigorous monthly disease, growth and mortality monitoring program. We are sampling cages from several locations to closely monitor the performance of our oysters, and to see if there are areas that do better than others. (For example, do the oysters on the river side grow better than those on the Bay side?) PWEC’s Carol McCollough has over 16 years of experience in oyster monitoring and disease diagnostics to manage this portion of our project.
Matt, our CCC Volunteer collects monthly growth and mortality data, as well. The Chesapeake Bay Trust is supporting PWEC by funding Matt to assist with TIGO management. To volunteer, please print and complete our Volunteer Form, and mail it to PWEC. You may also scan your completed form and email it as an attachment to email@example.com.
Planting Day is June 1, 2013. We will need volunteers to help retrieve cages from our 82 growers (7-8 pick-up trucks needed), transfer oysters to bushel baskets, powerwash cages, and to ride the boats and put our oysters overboard.
You can reach Project Manager Carol McCollough at firstname.lastname@example.org.