Siting Protocol for Future Reef Construction
of 2009, there are more than 100 completed oyster restoration
projects in the Virginia portion of the Chesapeake Bay. Considerable
interest in future construction warrants the development of
a technique that allows the advanced identification of potential
building sites based on existing data and best professional judgement.
The current protocol considers three basic criteria. These criteria
were analyzed using a hierarchical approach that combines available
digital data and GIS programming techniques. The resultant maps
illustrate only the endpoints of these analyses along with ancillary
First, the current protocol considers only public oyster ground in the context of these analyses. Therefore, the Baylor grounds (public oyster
grounds) mapped by Lt. Baylor in the 1890s provide the state owned bottom on which oyster habitat would be constructed by federal, state or local programs. Second, oyster reef construction sites must be based on hard bottom, and preferably
where oyster reefs once thrived. Geo-referenced bottom probe
surveys conducted by Dexter Haven of VIMS in the 1970s present provide data verifying
bottom sediment type.