The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently announced the state’s comprehensive oyster restoration plan.
DNR expects to recommend Breton Bay and the upper St. Mary’s River as the fourth and fifth tributaries to satisfy the state’s commitment to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement goal of restoring native oyster habitat and populations in five tributaries by 2025.
The recommendations will be shared with the Maryland Oyster Restoration Interagency Workgroup, which includes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
DNR will also gather input from citizens, communities and stakeholders in an open and transparent public comment process.
Breton Bay intends to be restored with the assistance of the state’s federal partners while work in the upper section of the St. Mary’s River would be conducted by the state. All contracts for seed planting and substrate placement in the final two restoration sites will be competitively bid.
Along with its restoration selections, the state also plans to study and survey existing state oyster sanctuaries around Annapolis and the Lower Eastern Shore. For the first time, the department will design and develop oyster management plans for the Manokin, Nanticoke, and Severn rivers to determine how the strategic use of state investment and resources, including seed, shell and spat, could spur natural oyster growth and reproduction.
Lastly, the department intends to move forward with developing a rotational harvest system, designating a seed study area, and renewing the state’s oyster shell collection and recycling programs.
The state’s oyster restoration plan was formed, in part, from feedback from the Oyster Advisory Commission, which includes academics, conservationists, legislators, and watermen.
source: Maryland Department of Natural Resources
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