What do oysters have to do with healthy ecosystems?
According to Chrissy Smith with the Friends of Netarts Bay WEBS, the oyster industry is an important part of the North Oregon Coast economy but these shellfish also improve the environment around them.
“Oysters depend on clean water and healthy ecosystems,” she said. “A single oyster can filter 50 gallons of water in a day.”
And, Smith added that “oysters taste better when you understand how they grow and realize the impact they have on their environment.”
That’s why the Friends of Netarts Bay WEBS is hosting another popular ‘Art of Growing Oysters Tour’ on June 26 to help connect people to our coastal oysters and give them an opportunity to learn about the industry and its impact on clean water and environments. This free tour includes a stop at Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery and ends at JAndy Oyster Company’s processing facility.
“The tour is a rare opportunity to learn about these facilities, the state of the art scientific research going on at the hatchery, and the issues faced by the shellfish industries and wild shellfish along the Pacific Northwest,” Smith said. “People love oysters and one thing folks walk away knowing is how they impact our bays and food. It’s an important connection to make.”
Registration is required and the tour is limited to the first 18 people.
Then, on June 28th WEBS is offering another free event – this time exploring ancient coastal plants in the Netarts area.
“This is a brand new event we’re offering this year and we are really excited about it!,” Smith said. “We’re going to be making a few stops along the Bay talking about how the plant kingdom evolved from protista algaes migrating from the oceans, into fresh water and then up onto land in the form of mosses and liverworts and we will discuss the evolution of our forest overtime.”
Participants will explore both the bay side and an older growth forest along Netarts and Cape Lookout. This event will include a brief presentation before participants head out for a tour around the bay that includes a few shorts walks and a longer two-mile hike through Cape Lookout State Park.
“This hike is being led by an educator and trained biologist with a background in plant ecology,” Smith said. “He is going to let the plants tell the story and although the route may change, he is planning a short walk near the Whiskey Creek Fish Hatchery and approximately a 2-mile round trip hike along Cape Lookout headland.”
Both the Art of Growing Oysters and Ancient Coastal Plants are part of the Explore Nature series of hikes, walks, paddles and outdoor adventures. Explore Nature programs are hosted by a consortium of volunteer community and non-profit organizations, these meaningful nature-based experiences highlight the unique beauty of Tillamook County and the work being done to preserve the area’s natural resources and natural resource-based economy.
To register, or find another adventure near you, visit explorenaturetillamookcoast.com. And be sure to follow both Explore Nature Tillamook Coast and Friends of Netarts Bay WEBS on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with all their county-wide events.