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Olympia Oyster Restoration 2017

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Financial and technical assistance is available from NRCS through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for individual producer contracts to help restore Olympia Oysters. EQIP funding will help pay for the shell substrate essential for the Olympia Oysters to grow upon as well as
seeded cultch bags.

The Olympia Oyster (Osterea lurida), native name of Kloch Kloch, is the only native oyster in Washington. Once believed to have encompassed 10,000-20,000 acres in Puget Sound alone, this keystone species is struggling. Historically the Olympia Oyster was a major food source for native people for thousands of years. The oyster was first commercially harvested around 1850 and shipped to the California gold fields. The industry continued to grow until around 1881 when the harvest began to decline. Since the Olympia Oyster was harvested only from wild stock, the high demand spurred an unsustainable harvest rate. By 1890 steps were being taken to start farming the oysters. Farming the native oyster was often problematic and in the 1920s the Japanese oyster was brought in for farming. 

Pollution and over harvesting has continued to take its toll on the Olympia Oyster. Today with less than five percent of the historic range of this species producing native oysters, an effort is mounting to restore the Olympia Oyster. This keystone species is important for crabs, juvenile salmon, and small marine life that thrive within the oyster beds. 

Although EQIP applications are accepted on a year-round basis, eligible producers and entities interested will have two cut-off dates to submit their applications for consideration for funding in fiscal year 2017. The cut-off dates are as follows: February 17, 2017, and April 21, 2017.

If you are interested in learning more about the native oyster and applying for the 2017 EQIP Shellfish practice, please call your local NRCS field office or visit us online for more information. 

Lake Stevens      (425) 334-2828
Lynden   (360) 354-5658
Montesano   (360) 249-5900
Mt. Vernon  (360) 428-7684
Olympia     (360) 704-7740
Port Angeles (360) 452-8994
Puyallup    (253) 845-9272
South Bend (360) 875-6300
Renton  (425) 277-5580, ext. 101



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