Oyster Study in the Rappahannock River
The Chesapeake Bay is an aquatic national treasure and is a waterway with many connecting tributaries that were once teaming with oyster beds that act as a natural water filter and a foundation for a thriving ecosystem. The bay is a vital economic vein as it is home to large active national ports, commercial fisheries, and recreational aquatic sport industries. One can recognize that water quality is essential to human and marine ecosystem livelihood. It is Ocean Research Project’s passion for the Chesapeake Bay that motivates them to use the latest in scientific technologies and methods to supplement existing programs in the ongoing challenge to conserve the bay.
Rappahannock River Oyster Classification
We have conducted an acoustic habitat mapping survey, depicting the development of restored oyster bed sites within the Rappahannock River. Using a Marine Sonic's side scan sonar and navigating with Hypack software we ensonifed the seafloor then collected sediment grabs for to validate the habitat seen in the imagery. We have conducted the survey utilizing international hydrographic survey techniques and we will classify our results using the Coastal Marine Ecological Standard. The data is collected by an alternative method to depict the extents of the current habitat classification of the surveyed sites. The dataset will update the bay-wide NOAA Geologic and Biologic database and map. Results may act as an additional tool in habitat restoration management in the future for Virginia state authorities. Data will be available to NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office and Virginia Marine Resource Commission. Acoustic data will be processed, analyzed, and oyster classification site products will be generated with Caris hydrographic survey software. Read the Descriptive Report here Oyster MAP Descriptive Report. During educational outreach opportunities we will highlight our experience in supporting the restoration of bay oysters.