Oyster Reef Project Exceeds Expectations
Summer Interns Document Progress
Thanks to a generous grant from Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust, the Association contracted five summer interns to assist with the baseline assessment and ongoing documentation of the oyster reef project. The Association was able to leverage Cove Point grant funding with credit-based summer study programming through formal partnerships with the Great Mills High School STEM Academy and the Forrest Career & Technology Center Natural Resources Management Program. Three STEM interns (seniors) and one Tech Center graduate worked with returning STEM graduate, Ken Gill, to complete the restoration project and develope a comprehensive set of data from which future assessments can be based.
Emma Evans (Tech Center) led the team when hard work was in order. Meghan Webster, Micheal Maragh, and Virginia Detrick (STEM) excelled at data collection and surveys conducted with Gill doing most of the underwater work. In addition, each of the STEM interns focused on an aspect of the assessment making it the topic of their summer STEM-related credit project.
"Ken kept it all going smoothly and supervised the team," said Bob Lewis (Association's Executive Director). "Emma basically ran the nursery and kept product moving through the setting tank."
Meanwhile Detrick kept a log of weekly water quality readings and Maragh tested the suitability of recycled concrete of various age for the setting of oyster larvae. Webster documented the colonization of the reefs. She used fauna collector's made from recycled 6-inch PVC pipe (see photo below).
"I wanted to determine whether the deeper parts of the reef were as vibrant as the tops of the reefs where oxygen levels are higher," commented Webster in a submitted brief about the project.
"We're still collecting data and working through it so we have no scientific results to report," said Lewis. "But it's exciting work since the reefs are lively and covered in healthy oysters. We have nothing but good news so far."
The natural oyster strike in the river this summer appears to be exceptionally high again, after an average summer in 2013 and a bonaza year in 2012. Oysters are coming back strong in the St. Mary's River.
11:00-4:00 Saturday, Sept 27
The turnout for our 10th Annual RiverFest was an impressive 1,280, the highest attendance ever. The weather was beautiful and the day was perfect in every way. RiverFest is a great opportunity to inform the public of the important ways that they can minimize their impact on our waterways. We engage youth in activities related to the water, thereby instilling in them a sense of value and importance for our natural world. In exchange these youths gain greater appreciation for our environment and become better stewards. Highlights of this year's event were the sturgeon exhibited by GenOn Chalk Point, the many exhibits of snakes, fish, turtles, and mollusks, and of course, the Wade-In led by Senator Bernie Fowler. Music for the event was provided by Longman Joe Norris, Indian Summer, and Janie Meneely with the Chesapeake Charter School Chorus.
Historic St. Mary's City
Celebrate the St. Mary's River with
Memories of River Champion
The Honorable John Hanson Briscoe
Sunday, June 8th
The Inn at Brome Howard
Thanks to everyone who came or who contributed and shared with us their memories of the Honorable John Hanson Briscoe and their passion for a clean and vibrant St. Mary's River. Our Affair was a huge success! Please visit our major sponsors: Guy Distributors, Slack Wines, David A. Reumont CPA PC, and PAE.
Recycling Concrete to Create Habitat
So how does an oyster reef building event start out? Coach Adam Werblow and Bob Lewis were at the College waterfront, and started discussing a problem at Adam's house - his concrete patio has sunk next to his house, and his basement was taking on water. Bob told Adam, "Find a concrete company, tear the old patio out, and install a new one that will drain away from the house. And when you do, let's build an oyster reef with the old patio."
On Sunday, October 5, fifteen volunteers loaded 25 tons of concrete onto the barge, Whiskers (operated by Captain Craig Kelley), who motored it into placed where each piece made a huge splash as it settled down in Horseshoe Bend creating habitat for oysters and other marine animals. Two trips were necessary to place all the concrete, and the group finished their work before 1:00 p.m.
Horsehoe Bend, Oct 22—Many of you have commented that the river is finally clearing up again. Today we could see down to the bottom in eight feet of water! This is good news. The bad news is that this past summer had significant algae growth clouding the waters and causing intermittent low-oxygen episodes. These conditions are very hard on underwater sea grasses and many of our beds have died back. Underwater grasses are keystone species; they clear the waters of sediments, provide oxygen and reduce carbon dioxide, and they provide safe habitat for crabs and small fish.
Local Businesses Support
Oyster Reef Project
Three local companies deserve your thanks and support. In 2013, Carruth & Son Inc, Colliflower & Peterson Inc, and Reliable Marine became working partners on our St. Mary's River Oyster Reef Project. Their enormous support was essential in bringing this project to fruition. We could not have done it without them. Read more.
Please show your appreciation by supporting these businesses.
The St. Mary's River Oyster Reef is a partnership project of the local Rotary clubs and Rotary District 7620, St. Mary's College of Maryland, and the St. Mary's River Watershed Association.
Oysters Filtering Water
An adult oyster can filter 55 gallons of water each day. Once oysters filtered the entire Chesapeake Bay every few days.
River Friendly Neighborhoods Rewards Program
River Friendly Neighborhood Certification
With funding from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Small Watershed Grants, SMRWA is launching a neighborhood-scale certification program much like the current Baywise homestead program. Learn more.
For more information 301-737-2903 and ask for Bob.
40-Page Guide Published
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.
Just updated: SMRWA recognizes donors to the 303d Campaign.