Virginia’s native oyster, Crassostrea virginica, can help to improve water quality because it feeds on algae. An adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day when water temperatures are above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Oysters are one of nature’s water filters. They remove particulate algae and sediment from the water by beating the cilia on their gills and drawing water in at a rate of 2-3 gallons per hour.
In addition to helping to clear the water by filtering out algae and sediment, natural oyster reefs provide habitat to a tremendous number and variety of other finfish and shellfish.
You can find out more about how you can grow and enjoy your own tasty oysters, while helping keep our water clean here.