Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Research Publications: UM-SG-RS-2010-21


A cultural model assessment of oyster restoration alternatives for the Chesapeake Bay




Paolisso, M; Dery, N


Human Organization 69(2):169-179




In this article, we argue for integrating a formal, well-specified cultural assessment into social or environmental impact assessments. We present the findings of a cultural model assessment of oyster restoration strategies for the Chesapeake Bay. This cultural model research formed part of a multi-year, multi-disciplinary Environmental Impact Assessment ( EIS), undertaken by federal- and state-level agencies. Our results suggest that Chesapeake Bay oyster stakeholders share a cultural model of oyster restoration that integrates ecological, economic, and cultural benefits. Restoration efforts that prioritize one of these benefits to a degree that threatens this holistic integration is inconsistent with the oyster restoration that stakeholders valued. These cultural model findings provide a reminder to policymakers and program implementers that future Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts to expand oyster sanctuaries and reserves, increase oyster aquaculture, and restrain wild oyster harvest need to be evaluated for how they support the integrated ecological, economic, and cultural benefits of oyster restoration.

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