Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



A user-friendly, web-accessible model has been developed that allows restoration practitioners and resource managers to easily estimate the TMDL-related benefits of oyster reef restoration per unit area, run restoration scenarios in Harris Creek, MD to optimize restoration planning and implementation, and calculate the benefits of the chosen plan. The model is rooted in scientifically defensible data and is readily transferable to systems throughout the Chesapeake Bay and Eastern Shore. The model operates in five vertically well-mixed boxes along the main axis of the creek. Exchanges among creeks are computed using a tidal prism approach and were compared to exchanges provided from a high resolution 3D hydrodynamic model. Watershed inputs for the model were obtained for the Harris Creek sub-watershed from the Phase V Chesapeake Bay Program Watershed Model. The base model simulates daily concentrations over an annual cycle of chlorophyll-a, dissolved inorganic nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), dissolved oxygen, total suspended solids, the biomass of benthic microalgae, and the water column and sediment pools of labile organic carbon (C) and associated N and P. Water quality data for model forcing and calibration were obtained from the Chesapeake Bay Program, the Choptank Riverkeeper, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. An oyster sub-model has been coupled to this base model and computes the volume of water filtered, removal of phytoplankton, suspended solids, and associated nutrients via filtration, recycling of nutrients and consumption of oxygen by oyster respiration, production of feces, N and P accumulation in oyster tissues and shell, oyster-enhanced denitrification, and N and P burial associated with restored reefs. The completed model is served online and operates through a web browser, enabling users to conduct scenario analysis by entering box-specific values for acres restored, restored oyster density, and restored oyster size, as well as the economic value of associated N and P removal.



Oysters. Oyster culture--Maryland. Water--Pollution--Total maximum daily load--Maryland. Restoration ecology--Maryland.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.


Oyster Recovery Partnership and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation



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