Local Restaurants Give Back to the Bays through ‘Don’t Chuck Your Shucks’ Shell Recycling Program

Don’t Chuck Your Shucks, a partnership between the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays (CIB), the Nature Conservancy in Delaware, and 19 local restaurants is gearing up for a third season. This unique recycling program collects discarded oyster shell for use in oyster restoration projects in the Inland Bays.

The CIB kicked-off its third full season of “Don’t Chuck Your Shucks” with the collection of sixteen bushels of shell from the Georgetown Fire Company’s 80th Oyster Eat, held on February 24th. Last year, Don’t Chuck Your Shucks collected 2,700 bushels of shell, a goal it hopes to exceed by collecting 3,000 bushels in 2017!

The success of this program is made possible by our partner restaurants and the appetites of their patrons, including 99 Sea Level, Bethany Oyster House, Bluecoast Seafood Grill, Catch 54, Chesapeake & Maine, Fish On, George & Sons Seafood Market, Hammerheads Dockside, Henlopen City Oyster House, Hooked, Hooked-up, Irish Eyes Pub & Restaurant, Just Hooked, Twining’s Lobster Shanty, Matt’s Fish Camp, Off the Hook, Smitty McGees, The Starboard Raw, and Zoggs Raw Bar & Grill.

When customers order clams or oysters, their discarded shell is diverted from the landfill, collected and “cured” for six months before being put to use. The end product will bagged and used for Living Shoreline stabilization projects, natural oyster reefs in the Bays, and the CIB’s Oyster Gardening Program which raises oysters for restoration efforts and provides water quality benefits to small local waterways.

Shell Bagging SoDel
Volunteers from SoDel Concepts Bag Shell on Friday, March 10th.

CIB Project Manager, Bob Collins, explains: “Water-filtering bivalves (like oysters, clams and mussels), require a hard surface on which they can grow – and oyster shell is perfect for this! As a bonus, small aquatic organisms, which serve as a food source for commercially valuable crabs and fish, also use this shell for habitat.”

In 2016, the CIB hosted several “bagging events” at which volunteers prepared 1,500 bags of shell for use in Bay-friendly projects. It is a great team-building event for organizations, and the CIB is planning several events for the 2017 spring season. Email communications@inlandbays.org for more information on how to get involved.

The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is a non-profit organization established in 1994, and is one of 28 National Estuary Programs.  With its many partners, the CIB works to preserve, protect and restore Delaware’s Inland Bays–the water that flows into them, and the watershed around them

For more information call Katie Goerger at 226-8105×109, send an email to communications@inlandbays.org  or, visit our website: www.inlandbays.org