The Maryland Department of Natural Resources 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.
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 NOAA provided grant support for building the reef balls and setting the spat.
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.
Once established, striped bass, flounder, croaker, spot, sea bass and other saltwater fish species utilize oyster 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
source: MD DNR