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By RUSTY DENNEN
An oyster and wine-tasting fundraiser on Saturday to benefit Friends of the Rappahannock will highlight the river-protection group's latest initiative.
Rappahannock River Oysters LLC, located near the mouth of the river in Middlesex County, is supplying oysters it grows from different spots in the watershed to the event at the Happy Clam restaurant in Fredericksburg. The Saturday tasting runs from 3 to 6 p.m.
And the restaurant will have items on its menu in which each plate that serves a local or sustainable seafood passes on $1 to FOR.
"The connection of our food--not just crabs, but fish and oysters--to our work is a next big step for us as we unify our programs to encompass the whole watershed," said John Tippett, FOR's executive director.
Rappahannock River Oysters "is an amazing partner, with a business model that goes beyond sustainability to encompass restoration of the shellfish industry," Tippett said.
Brothers Ryan and Travis Croxton are the proprietors. The company was featured in the Wall Street Journal last month.
Richard Moncure, FOR's steward for the tidal Rappahannock, said, "Our true hope is that we can begin to make the connection for customers and seafood lovers that the decisions we make in our watershed have an impact on our table, and that the decisions we make at our table have an impact on our watershed."
Headquartered in Fredericksburg, FOR has been expanding its conservation efforts to the lower river since 2006.
That year, it launched its "Pump for the Rivah" program aimed at getting boaters to dispose of waste at approved marina dump stations, and homeowners to have septic tanks pumped regularly.
FOR hired Moncure as river steward in January of last year, and in August 2011, it began its "Save the Crabs, Then Eat 'Em" campaign.
That was part of an ongoing push to change homeowners' lawn-fertilizing habits in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Fertilizers contain nutrients that fuel large algae blooms during the summer months. When the algae die, the process consumes oxygen needed by marine life.
Rusty Dennen: 540/374-5431