Puget Sound needs oysters like a car in Seattle needs windshield wipers. Once upon a time, oysters filled the Sound and filtered and cleaned the water.
Too bad we ate most of our oysters and killed the rest with water pollution. But wait, maybe it's not too late. The Nature Conservancy, the Puget Sound Restoration Fund, and volunteers are trying to restore our native Olympia oyster by building them new homes.
It's a great example of ocean restoration done right, because the new homes are nothing more than old oyster shells put back into the Sound. Baby oysters grow best on old oyster shells, making huge oyster reefs a normal part of a healthy bay.
The program will rely on natural reproduction to reseed the bays, so there are no worries of planting the wrong oysters from hatcheries. The Sound seems clean enough for oysters to thrive now, so it's worth a try.
Some people say the small native Olympia oysters taste better than the exotic imports now common in oyster farms. Maybe someday the world will know about Puget Sound's famous Olympia oysters.