Man plans 240-mile paddleboard journey to raise money for planting oysters in the Chesapeake Bay

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Oysters on stone plate with ice and lemon

ANNAPOLIS, MD (WJZ) — An Annapolis man is planning to attempt an ambitious 240-mile paddleboard journey down the Chesapeake Bay to raise money for planting oysters in the Bay.

With each paddle, Chris Hopkinson is hoping to bring more awareness about the dwindling population of a sea creature that’s very important to the Chesapeake Bay.

“Oysters are really the heart of the Bay,” Hopkinson said. “As the oyster goes, so goes the Bay.”

The oyster population in the Bay is at a historic low, which experts say is a big problem for the health of the water.

“They are critical filter feeders. One oyster can filter 10, 20 up to 50 gallons of water per-day,” Karis King, with the Oyster Recovery Partnership, said.

Hopkinson says he approached the Annapolis-based Oyster Recovery Partnership after learning that bringing them back could be the single most important thing that can be done to help the Bay.

His proposal? A 240-mile paddleboard journey to raise money for planting more oysters.

“I think we were all speechless,” King said. “There was a silence in the room because it was such a huge undertaking.”

Starting on September 18, Hopkinson will paddle from Havre de Grace to Virginia Beach over the course of nine days, making stops along the way.

Before the journey, the goal is to fundraise $200,000, all to buy oysters from a hatchery.

“$10 puts a thousand oysters in the Bay,” Hopkinson said.

Paddling 240 miles is no easy feat. Hopkinson is having to devote a lot of time to training, and the conditions on the Bay change hour-by-hour.

Hopkinson says it’s all worth it to preserve the Bay for the future.

“I just want everybody to enjoy the Bay, my kids and our future generation,” he said. “I think we have that responsibility now.”

If you would like to donate, please visit baypattle.org.

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