The Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Artificial Reef Program joined the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) on August 11 to place 306 oyster spat-laden reef balls on a two-acre site near Cooks Point in the Choptank River using CBF’s oyster research vessel Patricia Campbell.
Volunteers from CBF and the Dorchester County chapter of the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen’s Association (MSSA) built the reef balls at the Oyster Restoration Center in Shady Side, Md. and at a private site on the Eastern Shore. West Marine and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration provided grant support for building the reef balls and setting the spat.
Reef balls add three-dimensional structure and habitat for aquatic organisms such as mussels, oysters, tunicates, marine worms and myriad other species, which are vital components of the Chesapeake Bay’s food chain. Finfish species such as striped bass, flounder, croaker, spot, sea bass and others, then utilize these habitats for food and shelter.
For more information on Maryland’s artificial reef initiative, visit dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/reefs/ or the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s restoration efforts go to cbf.org
source: MD DNR