In November, the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative (MARI) added additional concrete material to Dominion Reef at the Gooses, its second major construction operation at this site this year. In cooperation with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Maryland Charterboat Association, Weeks Marine used crane barges to deploy the concrete, supplied from a local reconstruction project, on November 5.
“The Dominion Reef at the Gooses represents a valuable opportunity to enhance the habitat of a site in the Chesapeake that has the potential to be a field of dreams for myriad species — including mussels, oysters, crabs, striped bass and other types of finfish,” said DNR Fisheries Service Director Tom O’Connell. “These ecological benefits will translate into economic benefits for many bay fishing communities, including Chesapeake Beach, Deale, Solomons, Tilghman and Kent Island.”
MARI was established in 2007 to raise funds for marine habitat enhancement projects across Maryland. With over 50 partners, MARI has built four artificial reefs using more than 80,000 tons of recycled concrete from the demolition of the old Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Washington, D.C.
Dominion Reef at the Gooses was christened in 2007 as part of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project. It is MARI’s largest project to date. The project was named after the Dominion Foundation, the largest corporate sponsor, which provided a total of $275,000 toward the mission. In July of this year, a water quality monitoring data buoy funded by Dominion was placed on the reef along with the initial batch of new reef material from the reconstruction of the Dominion LNG gas dock near Calvert Cliffs.
The entire site, approximately 360 acres, includes 50 acres of recycled concrete. The project has the overwhelming support of the public, local businesses, conservation groups, state agencies and recreational anglers.