Building a Coastwide Olympia Oyster Network to Improve Restoration Outcomes

  • Olympia oyster size diversity. Photo credit: Bree Yednock

    Olympia oyster size diversity. Photo credit: Bree Yednock

  • Clam shell clusters with aquaculture raised oyster juveniles, Elkhorn Slough, CA. Photo credit: Scott Nichols

    Clam shell clusters with aquaculture raised oyster juveniles, Elkhorn Slough, CA. Photo credit: Scott Nichols

  • Citizen scientist monitoring an oyster reef ball, Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, CA. Photo credit: Helen Fitanides, The Watershed Project.

    Citizen scientist monitoring an oyster reef ball, Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, CA. Photo credit: Helen Fitanides, The Watershed Project.

  • Bags of seeded oyster shell deployed as substrate, Drayton Harbor, WA. Photo credit: Brian Allen, Puget Sound Restoration Fund.

    Bags of seeded oyster shell deployed as substrate, Drayton Harbor, WA. Photo credit: Brian Allen, Puget Sound Restoration Fund.

  • Monitoring native oyster restoration. Photo credit: Kerstin Wasson

    Monitoring native oyster restoration. Photo credit: Kerstin Wasson

  • Volunteers monitor oyster transects, Discovery Bay, WA. Photo credit: Cheryl Lowe

    Volunteers monitor oyster transects, Discovery Bay, WA. Photo credit: Cheryl Lowe

  • Pyramid bags of Olympia oysters buried by sediment at Younker Point, OR. Photo credit: South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve

    Pyramid bags of Olympia oysters buried by sediment at Younker Point, OR. Photo credit: South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve

Although drastic global declines in oyster reefs over the past few centuries have driven significant native oyster restoration efforts on the North American East Coast, the West Coast’s Olympia oyster has received comparatively little attention. Since 1999, growing interest in the Olympia oyster has led to restoration projects at a dozen locations along the West Coast as well as new efforts to promote scientific studies and public awareness of oyster declines and the benefits of restoration.

To build communication, coordination, and information sharing among scientists and restoration practitioners, this project established a coastwide network from Baja California to British Columbia, the Native Olympia Oyster Collaborative. The project team synthesized past restoration projects, developed an experimental design for future research, and created educational and outreach materials that convey the importance of native oyster restoration on the Pacific coast. These efforts engaged communities in Olympia oyster restoration, provided tools to enhance future restoration outcomes, and strengthened connections among researchers and practitioners to support ongoing collaboration.