Chris Hopkinson


The Chesapeake Bay Paddle raises money for planting Oysters!


The Chesapeake Bay Paddle

A single oyster can filter 50 gallons of water per day. The Bay Paddle is the first-ever attempt at stand-up paddleboarding all 200+ miles of the Bay to raise money for Oyster Recovery Partnership. The event’s mission is to help restore the Chesapeake Bay’s marine population. In only 3 years, since 2020, the event has raised more than 400 000 dollars, to plant more than 30 million oysters! 

How Are The Oysters Monitored And Protected?

ORP recognizes the significant environmental and economic benefits that oysters provide. They work to restore oysters throughout the Maryland-portion of the Chesapeake Bay by planting large-scale sanctuaries, supporting the public fishery, and promoting aquaculture. The state of Maryland protects oyster restoration sites by declaring them a non-harvestable sanctuary, meaning they are off-limits to commercial watermen. This classification is strictly enforced by DNR with large penalties and loss of licensure for violators. 

Verification is happening from the very beginning. Oyster Recovery‘s scientists go out in the field (with scientists from partner agencies like DNR (Department of Natural Resources), NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), Versar, etc.) to do “ground truthing” to ensure that habitat under consideration in a given tributary is suitable for oyster restoration. Surveyed sites deemed appropriate are clearly delineated and codified using GPS coordinates. Plantings are done by professional captains and take place within the specified boundaries. After a planting occurs, reefs are informally monitored on an ongoing basis by ORP’s scientists – by official mandate, they are monitored at 3- and 6-year intervals and a report on their progress is submitted to DNR.

About Chris

The founder of Bay Paddle and Endurance Environmentalist Chris was born and raised around the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and lives there today with his family. His paddling adventures started as a gift from his wife and a way to get him out of the house. His oyster interest started with his daughter’s science project. The Bay Paddle is his crazy way of combining his passion for endurance sports and the environment.