Oyster Gardening on Mobile Bay

MASGP 10-005-01 January 2010
P.J. Waters
Extension Specialist: Aquaculture
Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant
Alabama Cooperative Extension System

Hello Oyster Gardeners,
Happy New Year! I hope everyone is warming up a bit from our recent arctic experience. At this point, the oysters you took such good care of during the 2009 season have been on the restoration/enhancement sites for two months. In the first half of 2010 I hope to bring you an update on their progress. In the meantime, we are beginning to plan for this year’s gardening season.

Now is the time to start encouraging your neighbors to join. All they need to do is contact me and we can get them signed up. Training workshops will be held for new gardeners this year (April/May) in both Baldwin and Mobile Counties. I can be reached at 251.438.5690 or waterph@aces.edu . If you are involved incommunity organizations that meet and you would like Oyster Gardening to be presented, let me know and I will be happy to make a short presentation to your group.

I am happy to announce that the Oyster Gardening website is online. Special thanks to John Grigsby (MSAL Sea Grant) for setting it up for us. You can access it at www.oystergardening.org . We are still adding content, and when complete you will be able to submit measurement data online, view forms, and access the newsletter online.

Cage Repair and Replacement

As we enter the off season for growing oysters, we have a great opportunity to repair and replenish gear needed for next season. If you noticed broken doors, latches, hinges, etc. on your cages, please let me know soon so we can arrange to get them repaired.

If you lost cages last year in storms, not to worry, we can replace them, but please let me know. While we are out repairing, we can deliver replacement cages before the start of the new season.

2010 Cage Placement

This year, we are emphasizing the use of a two-point harness connecting gardens to your wharf. This will help keep the oysters evenly distributed, decrease the wear on the gardens, and reduce the loss rate in small storms.

New gardeners and those receiving replacement cages will be set up with the two point harness and a clip. For existing cages, these materials can be provided.

Volunteer Match Time Logs

If you have not completed your time match logs, please take a second and send it in. This form is extremely important for the match portion of the NEP funding. An extra copy was included in the December Newsletter, and is on the website.

When complete, you can fax the form to 251.438.5670 or mail it to 4170 Commanders Drive Mobile, Alabama 36615. You can also scan it and e mail it to me at waterph@aces.edu.

A Look Ahead

Next month, we will be including the first of four quarterly updates from the University of South Alabama entitled USA Restoration Briefs. The topics covered in this brief will focus on oyster reef restoration and fisheries enhancement. As we go through 2010, we will include these briefs as well as updates from USA on the progress of the oyster you grew in 2009. Should be interesting!

Corporate Partners

I want to introduce you to a new corporate partner of the Mobile Bay Oyster Gardening Program for the 2010 season. The Organized Seafood Association of Alabama has generously contributed to the program and we welcome their addition. If you are interested in more information about OSAA, they can be reached at www.alabamaseafood.org .

Thanks to everyone who sent in ideas for corporate partners. We are making progress on this front, and have plans to continue to develop relationships with corporations and associations who are interested in the program. If you have additional ideas, please let us know. The funds raised through these partnerships help to cover the program costs (cages, boats, etc.) and support student projects within the context of the Oyster Gardening program.

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