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SMRWA Submits Proposal for
St. Mary's Restoration and Oyster Fishery Management
St. Mary's City, Nov 9—The St. Mary's River Watershed Association (SMRWA) submitted their plan today for the protection and restoration of the St. Mary's River oyster sanctuary and an oyster fishery management plan for the public harvest areas. Read the plan.
In summary, the plan calls for the protection of the entire sanctuary area as well as designation as one of five tributary sanctuaries to be restored under the Bay's clean-up plan using federal monies. Such a designation would bring a massive restoration project into the St. Mary's in an effort to add an additional 150 or more acres of productive oyster bars within the sanctuary. Once completed, the restored areas would remain off limts indefinately—the sanctuary would no longer be threatened by public harvest.
Investments in the health of the St. Mary's River spans two decades and includes $3 million in federal dollars to develop ten years of water quality data under the St. Mary's River Project (a St. Mary's College of Maryland project). Since 2009, local efforts have restored oysters in seven locations within the sanctuary including the five-acre reef project (photo above) costing local, state, and corporate funders about $254,000. These projects have been very successful. Opening the sanctuary to harvest, as the watermen hope will happen, would throw away all these prior investments and return the St. Mary's to meager harvest and poorer water quality. Read the plan
Watermen Propose Limited Harvest
in St. Mary's Sanctuary
St. Mary's City, Sept. 29—The St. Mary's River Watershed Association (SMRWA) received a phone call last night from a member of the Watermen's Association of St. Mary's County inviting us to attend a meeting tonight on a proposal to open the St. Mary's River oyster sanctuary to commercial harvest of wild oysters. In response to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources' invitation to submit such a proposal, the St. Mary's county oyster committee (a separate entity from the Watermen's Association) was preparing a proposal for a limited harvest using power dredges on a large portion of the sanctuary known as Horseshoe Bar and upriver including Box Oak Bar to Martin's Point. Read more.
Boeing Reef Build
On Saturday, July 30th we'll be building the 35th reef mound (the first constructed with stone) as part of Boeing's Month of Service.
Since 2013, the Oyster Reef Project, a partnership between SMRWA, Leonardtown Rotary Club, and St. Mary's College of Maryland, has restored nearly two acres of crucial habitat to the St. Mary's River oyster sanctuary. Within the five acre restoration site, 21 reef ball, 2 shell pile, and 13 concrete rubble mounds have been constructed, requiring 603 reef balls, 270 bushels of oyster shell, nearly 190 tons of concrete rubble.
This area, which was previously barren and lifeless, now contains artificial reefs that closely mimic that of historic oyster reefs in the Chesapeake Bay. Extending up to 1 ft below low tide and 6 meters in diameter, these three dimensional mounds provide the structure necessary for oysters to become established and habitat for other organisms.
Interpretive Sign for
Oyster Reef Project
A hearty thanks to the Chesapeake Bay Trust for funding the design and manufacture of this exciting sign, which was installed last week at the college waterfront. And hats off to Dan Branigan and the college staff who endured northwest winds and temperatures in the twenties to get the sign installed promptly. It is only through the generous support of our partners and members that exciting work like this continues throughout the year.
The signage project was organized and led by Allison Rugila, SMRWA Program Director. The design by Stephanie Sobchak Graphic Designs was based on Allison's content and utilizing several of the Association's photgraphs from actual projects and field trips at the reef.
40-Page Guide Published
The forty-page guide, From My Backyard to Our Bay, A St. Mary's County Resident's Guide to Improving Our Environment and Drinking Water, is available free at area businesses, or you can download it from our web site. The Greenery in Hollywood, Chicken Scratch in Park Hall, and Good Earth Natural Foods in Leonardtown have free copies. Support your local businesses and get your free copy. Download compressed version [3.8 MB]
A download link to a high resolution PDF formatted version
is available on our publications page.
303d Campaign to
Restore the St. Mary's River
The EPA has listed the St. Mary's River as an impaired tributary to the Chesapeake Bay. Simply stated, the river is polluted and it's getting worse, not better. Read More.
Join the new 303d Campaign and become a River Guardian or a River Steward.