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Perdue Volunteers Support Oyster Recovery Partnership

Oyster Recovery2NANTICOKE, Md. — On Saturday, Oct. 1, more than 30 Perdue Incorporated associates and family members teamed with residents of Nanticoke, Md., the Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP), Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance to participate in the Marylanders Grow Oysters program for the third straight year.

The team of about 80 volunteers filled and distributed more than 200 cages of “spat” (175,000 baby oysters), which the 24 Nanticoke volunteer families will foster for the next nine months. The cages will be suspended from their privately owned piers along the lower portion of the Nanticoke River until next summer when they will be planted in local sanctuaries.

“Perdue’s long-term commitment to the Marylanders Grow Oysters program is having a measureable impact,” said Stephan Abel, Executive Director of the Oyster Recovery Partnership. “The hundreds of volunteers that have participated over the last three years recognize that the Chesapeake Bay’s recovery will only occur through citizen engagement.”

The Oyster Recovery Partnership also transported a truckload of recycled oyster shells to the site, where volunteers filled more than 400 nylon bags with empty shells. The bags are needed for the oyster hatchery production and will help provide a home for about 1 million oysters. Young larvae will attach themselves to the clean oyster shells at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Horn Point Hatchery in Cambridge, where they are produced. The resulting bags of spat on shell will be used for the 2012-13 season of the Marylanders Grow Oysters program.

According to the Marylanders Grow Oysters Web site, each cage with spat — once it reaches about one inch in size — will filter up to 50 gallons of water per hour. Oysters and other creatures in the cage also eat and remove algae.

Perdue has been working hand-in-hand with the Oyster Recovery Partnership since 2009 when associates first teamed team with residents of Nanticoke, Md., the Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP), Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance to participate in the Marylanders Grow Oysters program.

That year, the team deployed 250 cages of spat and also put together 260 shell bags for use in future oyster production.

In 2010, a team of nearly 80 volunteers filled and distributed 214 cages of spat and filled 747 shell bags.

In August, more than 50 Perdue associates and family members teamed with the ORP to fill more than 800 shell bags in the parking lot of the Perdue corporate Office in Salisbury, Md.

“This is our third year partnering with the ORP for community-based conservation initiatives, and each year I am amazed by the outpouring of support,” said Chad Clem, Perdue’s project coordinator for the Oyster Recovery volunteer effort. “It is especially gratifying to work on a project like this when I know that Perdue is so strongly committed to the environment and the health of the bay.”

Oysters are critical to the Bay’s long-term recovery. According to the Oyster Recovery Partnership, oysters used to filter the entire Chesapeake Bay in days. Due to past overharvesting, it now takes years.

“Much like our Project Clean Stream in April — when more than 1,200 associates, their family members and friends helped beautify their communitiesby harvesting more than 72,000 pounds of trash and debris from ponds, streams, roadways and parks — our associates really get behind this event,” said Steve Schwalb, Perdue vice president of environmental sustainability. “Working with the Oyster Recovery Partnership is another great way for our associates to support our company’s commitment to environmental stewardship and have fun doing it with other people who share our passion for preserving our natural resources.”


About the Oyster Recovery Partnership

The Oyster Recovery Partnership has a 15-year history of successfully bringing together state and federal government agencies, scientists, watermen and conservation organizations toward the common goal of oyster restoration. Since 2000, the Oyster Recovery Partnership has planted over 3 billion oysters on 1,500 acres and rehabilitated more than 70 oyster reefs throughout Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay.

For more information about the Oyster Recovery Partnership visit http://www.oysterrecovery.org

About Marylanders Grow Oysters

Marylanders Grow Oysters, a program under Governor O’Malley’s Smart, Green & Growing Initiative, is being managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in conjunction with the Oyster Recovery Partnership, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. For more information about Marylanders Grow Oysters visit www.dnr.maryland.gov/oysterproject 

About Perdue

PERDUE® is the No. 1 brand of fresh chicken in the Eastern United States.

Ranked as the third largest poultry company in the U.S., Perdue is a leading international food and agriculture family of businesses providing quality products and services to customers in more than 100 countries.

Privately held and family-run for three generations, the company employs more than 21,000 associates and partners with more than 2,200 independent farm families — all of whom share in the commitment to quality that has guided the company since its founding in 1920.

For more information, contact Perdue spokesperson Julie DeYoung at 410-341-2533 or visit www.perdue.comTM


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