Progress is being made to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
This week, the Chesapeake Bay Program along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a report on work being done to increase oyster reefs. It's part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. Among the goals outlined in the agreement is the restoration of native oyster habitat and populations in 10 tributaries by 2025.
For Maryland, this is the sixth annual update on oyster restoration efforts. The main targets of restoration right now are Harris Creek, Little Choptank River and Tred Avon River on the Eastern Shore.
Among the highlights of the report:
- Work on the initial phase of 165 acres of oyster reefs was completed on Harris Creek.
- Nearly 800 million oyster seed planted in Harris Creek, Little Choptank River and Tred Avon River
- The Maryland Oyster Commission is working on recommending the fourth and fifth tributaries.
“Maryland is committed to oyster restoration in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries as part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement," said Mark Belton, Secretary of Maryland Department of Natural Resources. "Oysters are critically important to our economy and environment."
It's estimated that one oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water each day. In addition, commercial fishing is a huge economic driver in Maryland. As of 2013, the catch in Maryland's fisheries was valued at $67 million.
*Jeff Herman is the assistant news director at WMAR | ABC2 and a member of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association. His main passion while not at work is fishing. This column is part of a series of columns he writes for our outdoors page . You can read more of his columns here . Follow him on Twitter @JeffABC2News and @TightLinesABC2