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Thursday, February 28, 2013

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Panel in CCPO Series to Discuss Local Oyster Restoration

Old Dominion’s Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography, which has an enhanced seminar series this semester meeting in a new location, has invited a panel of experts to discuss oyster restoration in the Elizabeth River at its seminar on Monday, March 4.

“Oyster Restoration in the Elizabeth River System with Particular Emphasis on the Lafayette River and Money Point in the Southern Branch” is the topic of the seminar, which is free and open to the public. It begins at 3:30 p.m. in Room 1202 of the E.V. Williams Engineering and Computational Sciences Building. (Construction in the Innovation Research Park Building 1 necessitated the relocation of the series this semester.) A reception with refreshments will be held in the seminar room from 3-3:30 p.m.

Panelists will be:

• David Bruce, a habitat ecologist/geographic information system analyst with the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office's Habitat Assessment Team. He has a master’s in fisheries sciences from the University of Georgia and primary research interest in identifying relationships between fishes and their habitats.

• Tommy Leggett, the manager of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Virginia Oyster Restoration Center. He has a master’s in Marine Science from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and serves as the Virginia Oyster Restoration and Fisheries Scientist.

• Joe Rieger, the deputy director for restoration at the Elizabeth River Project. He has a master’s in Aquatic Ecology from ODU. At the Elizabeth River Project, he oversees wetland, oyster and sediment restoration.

The Elizabeth River watershed lies in parts of Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Portsmouth, and is often characterized as being both heavily urbanized and industrialized, which has resulted in extreme water quality impairment and habitat degradation.

Massive efforts by non-government organizations and government agencies have been underway for several decades to clean up the river and there is now a robust oyster population as a result of decades-long shellfish closures and active restoration since 1998.

The panelists will discuss a multifaceted plan developed by restoration partners to restore the oyster population in the Lafayette River, a sub-estuary of the Elizabeth. They will also explain efforts led by the Elizabeth River Project to restore oysters, wetlands and benthic habitat to the Money Point section of the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River, which is widely known for its elevated levels of polyaromatic hydrocarbons and other toxics.

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