By Linda Hunter, Executive Director
Imagine a grassroots program that addressed the challenges of climate change, habitat restoration, sustainable food sheds, environmental education and the California drought. That’s a lot to take on, right? But I wanted to talk to you about such a program.
The Watershed Project’s Living Shoreline Program addresses all of these significant issues. Have you ever wondered what’s under the water of San Francisco Bay? More than you might imagine, but not as much as there once was. Our Living Shoreline Initiative aims to help people appreciate the rich potential for healthy underwater habitats in the Bay and along its shoreline.
The Living Shoreline Initiative starts in the Bay, where we built the very first community built oyster reef — 100 reef balls made entirely by volunteers – to create a food source and a place to take refuge — not only for oysters but shorebirds, tiny crabs and worms and even wild salmon and other fishes!
Oysters were once plentiful in the Bay. Overharvesting, degraded water quality and silting over of oyster habitat nearly destroyed our native oyster population. Together with concerned scientists of the San Francisco Bay Native Oyster Working Group and the help of educators, students and volunteers, we are working to restore that lost habitat.
Our Oyster Monitoring and Restoration Program includes classroom and outdoor experiential learning for youth, and volunteer restoration and monitoring activities for adults. The data that students and teachers collect helps scientists understand how best to restore native oysters to the San Francisco Bay and the critical role these bivalves play in the underwater web of life.
Oyster aquaculture is arguably the most sustainable fishery on the planet. It takes no additional water to grow oysters, no feed nor fertilizers. Compare the water requirements of a pound of beef — 2,463 gallons of water per pound to the amount of water required to produce a pound of oysters — practically none whatsoever!
Our goal at The Watershed Project is to expand the acreage of community built oyster reefs and gardens throughout the San Francisco Bay to make a significant impact on water quality. A single oyster filters 50 gallons of water per day — think how the cumulative efforts of millions of oysters, filtering water every day – would have on the clarity and cleanliness of the water.
So, here’s where we need your help. Every year we host an annual event, Bubbles & Bivalves to support the Living Shoreline Program. It’s a wonderful celebration and quite unique and this year, you will experience everything oyster at 2 exquisite locations!
Innovation Hangar (once the Exploratorium) from 5:30 — 6:30 PM.
The Watershed Project is very excited that our keynote speaker for this year’s event on May 21st will be award winning author, Paul Greenberg. Paul is the author of the James Beard Award winning New York Times bestseller Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food and a regular contributor to The New York Times Magazine, Book Review, and Opinion Page. Paul is a stalwart advocate for oyster restoration and has been a booster for bringing back oysters in numbers large enough to protect shorelines and water quality in his Manhattan neighborhood.
The Aquarium of the Bay — after our discussion with Paul about sustainable seafood, it’s on to the Aquarium of the Bay to celebrate and support the Living Shoreline. The lineup for this gourmand extravaganza includes:
Waterbar; CleanFish; Farallon Restaurant; Epic Roasthouse; Fish; Slow Club; Sous Beurre; 25 Lusk; Saltwater Oyster Depot; Hog Island Oyster Company; Tomales Bay Oyster Company; Speakeasy Ales & Lagers; Barrel Head Brewhouse; Domaine Chandon; Radio-Coteau & Sub 14 wines; Elke Vineyards; Rock Wall Winery; Cannonball Wine Company; Bi-Rite Creamery; Three Twins Ice Cream and Wooden Table Baking Company.
To buy tickets or register for the Free talk about sustainable seafood, click here:
See you on May 21st!