Save Oyster Shells

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) needs your help–and your oyster shells–to restore native oysters in the Chesapeake Bay. Donate your empty shells to CBF so we can recycle them into more oyster reefs and repopulate the Bay with more oysters. Oyster shells are literally the foundation of our reef restoration efforts!

We turn 2,000 bushels of recycled oyster shells each year into habitat for millions of oysters planted in the Bay and its rivers. Once the recycled shells are cleaned and cured, CBF places them in huge water tanks containing millions of microscopic oyster larvae, which then attach to the shells. On average, each recycled shell can become home to dozens of those baby oysters, called spat. CBF provides the spat-on-shell to its oyster gardeners and plants them in rivers and the Bay to grow and expand oyster reefs.

Oyster shells are becoming increasingly scarce. Through the Save Oyster Shells recycling program, shells that would typically be thrown away are saved and used in a variety of oyster restoration projects.

Your shells are used as homes for baby oysters (spat) like the shell in the photo. We place your recycled shells in tanks of water with millions of microscopic oyster larvae swimming and attaching to the shells. After a few days the spat-on-shell will be used to restore oyster reefs.

See the program in action on these local television news reports

WTKR-TV 3 (Virginia) 11/22/17 Local Effort to Restore Oysters

WBAL-TV 11 (Maryland) 08/13/12 Oyster Recycling Bins to Help Replenish Population  

Maryland Public Drop-off Locations

CBF has the following drop-off locations in Maryland.


Anglers Hunting Fishing
Near Sandy Point State Park
1456 Whitehall Road
Annapolis, MD
(SOS bin out front under the Anglers sign)

Annapolis Yacht Club
Sailing Center
6th St. and Severn, behind the Eastport Shell station
Annapolis, MD

Chesapeake Bay Foundation 
Philip Merrill Center
6 Herndon Avenue
Annapolis, MD
(SOS Cage at Entrance to CBF)

Eastport Yacht Club
317 First Street
Annapolis, MD

Chesapeake Beach

Breezy Point Marina
5230 Breezy Point Road
Chesapeake Beach, MD 20732


Easton Point Marina
975 Port Street
Easton, MD


Oak Grove Marina
Next to Yellowfin Restaurant
2820 Solomon's Island Rd, Suite A
Edgewater, MD 21037
(SOS Cage Upper Parking Lot)


May's Restaurant
5640 Urbana Pike
Frederick, MD  21704

Severna Park

573 Ritchie Hwy
Severna Park, MD 21146
(SOS Cage Rear Parking Lot)

Shady Side

Discovery Village
4800 Atwell Rd
Shady Side, MD 20764
(Look for the Save Our Shell Cage
outer parking lot) 

Maryland Participating Restaurants

The following restaurants also participate in CBF's Save Oyster Shells program:

  • Annapolis Yacht Club Clubhouse, Annapolis
  • Brian Boru Restaurant & Pub, Severna Park
  • Liberty Road Seafood & Steak, Frederick
  • May's Restaurant, Frederick
  • Red Horse Steak House, Frederick
  • Shuckin' Shack, Frederick
  • Pirates Cove Restaurant, Galesville

To learn more about CBF's oyster recycling partners in Maryland please visit the Oyster Recovery Partnership.

To learn more about how you can become involved in the oyster shell recycling program please contact Dan Johannes at or 443-482-2174.

The Bay Needs You

Your donation helps the Chesapeake Bay Foundation maintain our momentum toward a restored Bay, rivers, and streams for today and generations to come.

Donate Today


Do you enjoy working with others to help clean the Chesapeake Bay? Do you have a few hours to spare? Whether growing oysters, planting trees, or helping in our offices, there are plenty of ways you can contribute.

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