Aquaculture reviving Md. oyster industry – as well as watermen

Decades ago, Wingate Harbor was full of working oystermen in the late fall and winter, plying the Honga River’s thick oyster bars and bringing their catch to the dock. But when diseases took hold and the harvest plummeted, the oystermen hung up their dredges and tongs and left this lower Dorchester County village for other lines of work.
Today, three watermen are back, pulling up oyster cages from leased bottom about one-half mile from the dock at the Honga Oyster Co.

Sea Grant sustains many marine jobs, but faces uncertain future

Once a month, Matt Parker and Suzanne Bricker drive along Penny Lane through a Southern Maryland forest until it dead-ends at the Chesapeake Bay. Then, they pull on their waders and hop into a skiff to maneuver out to aquaculture cages, where they grab samples of water and the oysters taking it in. Their results may eventually let oyster growers earn money not only for the bivalves they grow, but also for the water the shellfish clean under the state’s nascent nutrient trading program. But partnerships like Parker’s and Bricker’s won’t be happening in the Chesapeake, or anywhere else, if the Trump administration’s proposed budget is approved later this year. The work is funded by Maryland Sea Grant — one of 33 Sea Grant programs around the nation that help translate science into sustainable coastal economies.

Ellicott City stairway catches the eye and stormwater

An earthquake, and then a flood, forced officials to repair a parking lot retaining wall in hilly Ellicott City. Howard County’s innovative repair job did more than restore the wall — it netted the community an architecturally designed staircase, showy native gardens, a waterfall, less stormwater pollution of the Patapsco River and a BUBBA.

Bay Bridge

How about a third Bay bridge from Baltimore Co. into Kent Co.?

Gov. Larry Hogan last month announced yet another study of a third span across the Chesapeake Bay. The study is expected to cost $5 million and take up to four years. Its goal is to determine the appropriate site for a third span and how to pay for it.
Gov. Hogan’s announcement came with the current Bay Bridge in the background. The setting suggests that the third lane will be built at the current Sandy Point site. Maryland would be well served, however, by building the next bay crossing from Baltimore County to Kent County.