Saving Oysters in Oregon – week 7 (?!)

bug bites & muscles.

The two things I have accumulated this week.  They can be credited to a great, oyster-saving feat full of brute strength, artistic genius, and self-sacrifice.

Nah.. I’m exaggerating a little.. but it was pretty epic, in my humble opinion.  Basically, we have successfully deployed our Oly-Rocs!  The brute strength comes from lugging >60 lb concrete formations down rocky hillsides to intertidal areas that are known to have good oyster larval recruitment, the artistic genius is just from the fact that they’re pretty pleasing to the eye, and the self-sacrifice comes from the many many bug bites I had to endure during this undertaking.

I’ll take you along this week’s experience with a step-by-step guide on how to deploy your own Oly-ROCS!


Step 1.

Place your newly formed Oly-ROCS into a vehicle for transportation to its future site. (A truck bed will do fine).  If you want to compare different Oly-ROC styles, you can copy this arrangement and deploy 2 with horizontally-placed shells, 2 with vertically-placed shells, and 2 with live juvenile oysters on shell or rocks.  Don’t lay them on top of each other; you don’t want to crush the shells!


Step 2.

Find a nice location at low-tide for the final resting place of your Oly-ROCS.  You should look for a muddy area near other juvenile oysters.  The point is to enhance the habitat for the oysters, so you don’t want to cover up other rocks or hard substrate that they would naturally select, but at the same time, you want to find someplace where you know oyster larvae will be.



Step 3.

Carefully carry the Oly-ROCS down steep rocky slopes or long muddy paths to the general area of where you want to eventually place them.  Do this with a friend!  These Oly-ROCS are made for partner work, and >60 lbs is a lot for one person to carry.  Tip: You can even put together a make-shift sling-carrier for more ease of movement (picture on the right)



Step 4.

Put each individual Oly-ROC into its desired location.  Drive stakes into both sides of the burlap to hold them in place.  We have used 3 on each side, but 2 may suffice.  Flag each Oly-ROC for more visibility so you can find them again (especially useful when the tide isn’t low enough), and use different colors if you want to be able to distinguish the different Oly-ROC styles. (Make sure to clear away any live oysters that may be on small rocks or loose in the mud before putting your creations down!)


Step 5.

Place them in a straight row so you can compare different Oly-ROC styles.  They should all be at the same water level, but do the best you can.   In our site, we were trying to avoid the protected native eelgrass, so it wasn’t perfect.



And… TA-DA!!  You are finished!  Well done.

You  may be fatigued from all that heavy lifting, and you may have suffered some blood loss from mosquito bites, BUT, you have done a great favor to all of native oyster-kind, and they will tell stories of your bravery and goodness of heart for years to come.





Make sure to tune-in next week for some tips on how to study water flow and turbulence related to oyster formations!

(I may or may not have read one too many “guide” articles on this week)

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3 thoughts on “Saving Oysters in Oregon – week 7 (?!)

  1. What a great description of launching your hard work out into the estuary! I can’t wait to read about flow – are you actually studying the dynamics around your deployed OlyRocs?

  2. No =[. Our flume isn’t big enough for Oly-ROCS. We’ve only studied simple clusters

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