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DNR and Mirant Continue Partnership to Restore Atlantic Sturgeon
ANNAPOLIS – The Maryland Department of Natural Resources welcomes Mirant Potomac River Generating Station’s continued partnership for an Atlantic sturgeon restoration project for the Potomac River. As part of the renewed partnership, Mirant will provide up to $325,000 over the next five years to support restoration activities of Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus), the only large bottom feeders present in the Chesapeake Bay.
“Atlantic sturgeon existed historically along the entire Atlantic coast and at one time, played an important ecological role in the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem,” said DNR Secretary John Griffin. “Mirant’s funding and continued support of this fishery restoration project offers hope that the once abundant sturgeon can grow and prosper in its natural habitat again in the future.”
Overfishing, degraded water quality and man-made stream blockages drastically reduced the Atlantic sturgeon’s population. By 1928, sturgeon were rarely caught north of the Potomac River. Research by the USFWS-Maryland Fishery Resources Office concluded in 2004 that Atlantic sturgeon restoration in Maryland would not likely occur without hatchery supplementation.
“We are so proud of our successful partnership with DNR, and we believe wholeheartedly that these mutually beneficial partnerships are an important component of all Maryland’s fish restoration efforts,” said Misty Allen, External Affairs Manager at Mirant Mid-Atlantic LLC. “We recently expressed our steadfast commitment to the project for the next five years to continue sturgeon restoration.”
DNR and Mirant first began a pilot culture trial on the Potomac River in the summer of 2006. Positive findings from the effort led to larger scale culture trial in 2007. Mirant Mid-Atlantic LLC provided funding for manpower, materials, culture space and water supply, while DNR designed and constructed the research facility.
“The overarching aim of our restoration project is to culture a healthy, captive brood stock of genetically diverse sturgeon adults that will provide larvae and juvenile fish for restoration stocking,” explained Brian Richardson, DNR Fisheries Restoration Manager.
The facility will also serve as an education and outreach tool since it is included on plant tours.
August 19, 2008
Contact: Olivia Campbell
410-260-8016 office I 410-507-7525 cell
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov