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CBOCS Thanksgiving 2011 Update

Dear friends and members:

While reflecting on reasons to be thankful this past holiday, high on my list were you -- the many new friends and colleagues met through our endeavors to help restore oysters to the Bay. Your contributions of ideas, time, and resources to make the Chesapeake Beach Oyster Cultivation Society a successful and meaningful program have been inspiring, and for that I am truly grateful!

Case in point, on windy and cold November 23 afternoon the last two BOCSes of the season, donated by the Chesapeake Beach Garden Club and the Chesapeake Station Homeowners Association, were deployed; and thanks to your efforts all 26 BOCSes along the Railroad Trail boardwalk were winterized, and the oysters tucked in for a long winter's snooze (When water temperatures drop to around 40 degrees F and below oysters become dormant.). This process went by quickly thanks to the winterization crew listed below, and having a second boat provided by Mike O'Keefe. This is the second time Mike provided his boat to assist with CBOCS activities, and it is greatly appreciated! 

Each fall the BOCSes need to be winterized to help prevent them from being damaged by icy conditions, and also to help prevent the spat from being inadvertently exposed to sub-freezing air temperatures as the cage rotates, which can kill them. Winterization entails disconnecting the tide-powered cage turning mechanism for the winter so that the cages will not rotate. If you happen to walk the Railway Trail boardwalk this winter and take a look over the side at the BOCSes, you should see the tide-turner counterweight resting on top of the BOCS; the counterweight is a white cylindrical object about 7 inches by 5 inches. Next April, once the threat of ice and freezing temperatures has subsided, we'll need a few people to help re-engage those tide turning mechanisms. Allowing the cages to rotate during the warmer months keeps fouling growth from accumulating on the cages and blocking water flow to the spat; it also helps keep the spat free of silt.

For those with spat in MGO cages at your pier, you should position the cages just a few inches from the bottom to help ensure that they will not be exposed to freezing air temperatures by low tides. Also during the winter months it is not necessary to agitate the cages. 

On another front, this year Beach Elementary School (BES) expanded its science curriculum to include the CBOCS program!  Students will be learning first hand about the importance of oysters to the Bay ecosystem, and about ongoing oyster restoration activities. Mary Butz, one of the Beach Elementary teachers participating in CBOCS, led the the first 5th grade field trip to the Railway Trail Boardwalk a couple of weeks ago and introduced the students to our oyster restoration program. The students also got a chance to learn more about water quality monitoring from Terry Klazer, Amenda Brown, and John Bacon who discussed and demonstrated various water quality tests that they conduct every month as part of the CBOCS Water Quality Monitoring Committee (See the Town's Fall 2011 Newsletter online for more information on the work this committee is doing.). A special thanks to Terry, Amenda and John for helping to support the BES efforts to educate the next generation of Bay stewards!

With that we are half way through our first CBOCS season. The next two events are:

1) April -- De-winterize the BOCSes. 

2) June -- Plant the yearling oysters on a nearby oyster reef in the Bay.

Lastly, please keep an eye on the BOCSes during the winter months and report any damage to, or suspicious activity around, them to us ( or Town Hall (301-855-8398).

Great job everyone, and thank you again! See you in the spring...

Sincerely, Keith Pardieck, CBOCS Chairman

2011 Winterization Crew:  Terry Klazer, Mike O'Keefe, John Bacon, Jon Farrington (a.k.a. Johnny Oysterseed), Charlie and Marianne Valaer, Kelly Norton, Nancy Feuerle, and Keith Pardieck

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