• Clean Chesapeake Coalition

    There is no dispute that natural indigenous shell is the best surface upon which baby oysters will strike and grow – after all, that’s what Mother Nature intended. Anybody concerned about the paucity of natural shell for oyster restoration and propagation needs to support the State of Maryland’s permit application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge fossil oyster shells in the upper Bay (Man O’War Shoal) for planting and seeding throughout the Bay. This was done for more than 4 decades with measurable success. That program ended in 2006 at the urging of the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) on behalf of recreational fishermen…and at the expense of the commercial seafood industry. The lack of natural oyster shell is a self-imposed crisis. Just look at how Virginia is mining shell in the James River and far exceeding Maryland in harvested bushels. Defaulting to the dumping of construction debris in our Bay when there is no shortage of natural oyster shell buried under sediment in the upper Bay is lunacy. Note, the 2006 permit to dredge for oyster shell in the upper Bay was supported by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Maryland Watermen’s Association. Why do they oppose essentially the same permit today?