Oyster farming proposals raising concern among waterfront owners

by Audrey Thomasson

OTTOMAN—Residents are trying to protect the opening to Beach Creek from an oyster lease that could allow tens of thousands of oyster baskets close to shore. They believe unlimited and unchecked oyster farming has the potential to damage submerged vegetation and poses a navigational hazard to boaters.

Mark Dodson of the Beach Creek Association said the lease could make it difficult for boaters to access the creek and would interfere with future dredging of the creek.

“They’re leasing out all the shoals of rivers and creeks,” said Dodson of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC).

“They’re not responsive to their own rules…you can’t lease on aquatic vegetation.”

The issue between the aquaculture industry and the neighborhood began in June 2015 when Taryn Rowland of Alexandria filed an oyster ground application with VMRC to farm 250 acres along the north shore of the Rappahannock River at the opening of Beach Creek…