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DNR and CBF Place Millions Of Oysters In Cooks Point Reef

Placing the reef balls into the water

Cooks Point, Md. (August 22, 2011) - 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.

“It’s encouraging to see this continuing partnership between CBF, DNR, MSSA, private industry and the volunteers from the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative, in the effort to enhance habitats the Chesapeake Bay,” said DNR Artificial Reef Coordinator Erik Zlokovitz.

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.

“The Cooks Point site features good water flow and a clean shell bottom. Reef ball plantings there in recent years have developed rich reef communities, including reef-dependent species like black sea bass that haven’t been seen in the Choptank in many years,” said CBF biologist Bill Goldsborough. “It’s an ideal place for a shellfish restoration effort such as this.”

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.


   August 22, 2011

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly a half-million 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 11 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