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   and Documents

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   Now Available


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   Oysters Back to the
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   Video Link -
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   Time-lapse: Oysters
   Filtering Water

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   on YouTube

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   and Green
   School Programs

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   Restoring Oysters in    St. Mary's River

   Crying Indian
   Iron Eyes Cody



April 8—9 AM to 11 AM

It's that time of year! St. Mary's River Watershed will host this year's river clean-up at Kitts Point in St. Inigoes State Forest. Paddlers are welcome, majority will walk. Click here for more information!

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.

      Read more.

40-Page Guide Published

Available Free

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.


St. Mary's City, March 16—Good news to report - the Maryland House of Delegates voted this week 102-39 to prohibit the altering of boundaries of oyster sanctuaries pending a stock assessment by the University of Maryland and an overall fishery plan for Maryland's oysters. This is a veto-proof majority. The bill goes to the State Senate today for consideration. We expect the full Senate to hold a hearing on this bill on Tuesday or Wednesday next week and a floor vote could occur soon after.

Call Senator Steve Waugh
Ask him to support HB924 and our sanctuaries

      It is important that we get a veto-proof majority in the Senate as well. The Governor has sided with industry and in spring 2014 he pledged to end the "war on watermen," as he termed it, and to declassify sanctuaries.

River Friendly Program
Behavior Change Pledge Form

     We are entering our twelfth year protecting and restoring the St. Mary's River. Over this time, we have learned, in part, is that YOU, our members and supporters, are passionate about our river and its health. We know that the St. Mary's is special and that the residents here and wide are dedicated to actions and lifestyles that are river friendly. Please help us document your commitment to a healthy St. Mary's River.

     Please take five minutes out of your day to fill out a pledge form. Complete the form with a check mark by actions you plan to take and inital any tasks already accomplished. Your signed form can be scanned in and emailed to meghan.m.webster@gmail.com or snail-mailed to the return address at the bottom of the pledge form.

State Report Says No Public Harvest
St. Mary's River Oyster Sanctuary
Should Be Protected

St. Mary's City, Oct. 13—Last winter, Governor Hogan suspended the restoration activities in Maryland's sanctuaries—turning away a million dollars of federal monies that ended up going to Virginia—because a 5-year study of sanctuaries, public harvest areas, and aquaculture operations was due out last July 2016. Hogan was looking for opportunities within the reportto enhance the wild oyster fishery, a campaign promise he made to Maryland's watermen.

Underwater image of the oyster reef restoration project in the St. Mary's River oyster sanctuary—a partnership project with St. Mary's College of Maryland, Leonardtown Rotary, and the St. Mary's River Watershed Association.

       The report does little to support Hogan's promise. It states that restoration in two sanctuaries, Harris Creek and the Little Choptank, has been successful and that restoration activities should continue. Furthermore, the report specifically calls out the St. Mary's River as a sanctuary that is doing extremely well and may, after extensive surveys, be termed fully restored to Bay goals without the state or federal governments investing a single dollar of taxpayer monies. The report offers just two options within the recommendations for the St. Mary's River sanctuary: 1) do nothing,... Read more.

Fourteen Rain Gardens Installed

      There are numerous ways to positively impact our beloved river from collecting trash to arresting rainwater runoff before it reaches the river. A rain garden is the perfect opportunity to make a difference. This natural water filtration system is not only aesthetically appealing, but also a big help in reducing runoff by catching storm water from your roof and/or driveway and filtering it through plant use and organic materials. And best of all—we have grant funding to assit you in designing and building your dream rain garden!

      We have installed fourteen rain gardens in the past few year and, collectively, they are reducing pollution to the St. Mary's River: Nitrogen reduction 24 pounds annually, Phosphorus reduction 1 1/3 pounds annually and sediments reduction by 240 pounds annually. For more info please contact us at Email: meghan.m.webster@gmail.com

Watershed Implementation Plan:
A Characterization of
the St. Mary's River Watershed

      Want to know more about current status of the Watershed? The first draft of the Characterization document (part of the St. Mary's River Watershed Restoration Action Strategy) is now available online! This document presents a snapshot of the watershed in terms of its environmental issues, natural resources, and human development, needs, and impacts.

Oysters Filtering Water

An adult oyster can filter 55 gallons of water each day. Once oysters filtered the entire Chesapeake Bay every few days.

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St. Mary's River Watershed Association, Inc.
Post Office Box 94
St. Mary's City, MD 20686

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