Heavy equipment is used to push pieces of the old Wilson Bridge into the Chesapeake Bay near Point No Point located off the shore of Ridge, Md. in Sept. 2006. Once settled on the bottom, the material will create an artificial fish reef. Local waterman hope this will revitalize the sport fishing industry in southern Maryland. See the video ( WMV, 3MB) Photo by David Noss.
Releases First Ever Maryland Artificial Reef Plan for Public Comment
ANNAPOLIS The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in partnership with Coastal Conservation Association Maryland (CCA MD) and over 30 conservation organizations, corporations, foundations and outdoor recreational groups launched the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative (MARI) to raise funds to facilitate development of marine habitat enhancement projects.
I am very excited to launch this new and important initiative, said DNR Secretary Ron Franks. Improving Marylands marine habitat is one of the central objectives of the Department and the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative will help us achieve this important goal. I would like to thank our partners for their dedication, hard work and contribution to this worthy purpose.
The Coastal Conservation Association Maryland is the functioning 501(c)3 non profit entity that will receive and distribute donations made to MARI. All donations will be held in a special account and funds will be dispersed to artificial reef projects. Individuals, businesses, corporations and foundations can donate to the MARI fund through CCA MD and through the Buy a Ton program at the CCA MD website.
This is a fantastic example of how public and private entities can work together to make a positive difference for our marine resources, said Robert Glenn, executive director of the Maryland chapter of CCA. Our members welcome the opportunity to participate in this effort and are very excited about the precedent it sets. We consider absorbing the costs of administering this dedicated fund so that tax-deductible contributions go directly to reefs projects as simply part of our mission. We encourage every angler in Maryland to visit the website and Buy a Ton. Projects like these are the future for the health and longevity of Chesapeake Bay.
The catalyst for the program is the old Woodrow Wilson Bridge, which is available to be used for marine and fish habitat, but for which the cost of transportation and deployment is required. The Wilson Bridge offers the opportunity to build out up to a dozen separate reefs in Maryland's portion of Chesapeake Bay by providing a hard substrate and point of attachment for myriad marine organisms, where they previously had none. The initial focus of MARI will be to acquire the Wilson Bridge for reef habitat, but ultimately other projects in the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coast will be initiated.
In conjunction with the launch announcement of MARI, DNR is releasing for public comment the first ever Maryland Artificial Reef Plan. The plan is both a historical reference document of past artificial reef work in Maryland waters, and a planning and management tool for future reef development. The Maryland Artificial Reef Plan will be the blueprint for future artificial reef projects. It is modeled after the National Artificial Reef Plan, and was written with the feedback of major fisheries stakeholder groups in Maryland. The public comment period will run through January 31.
Following are the organizations joining the Department of Natural Resources in helping establish MARI.
- American Bridge/Edward Kraemer
- Annapolis Chapter of CCA MD
- Annapolis Chapter of MSSA
- BP Oil Corporation
- Chesapeake Bay Artificial Reef Coalition
- Chesapeake Bay Foundation
- Chesapeake Guides Association
- Coastal Conservation Association of Maryland (CCA MD)
- Deale Island Charter Boat Association
- Deale Charter Boat Association
- Dorchester Chapter of MSSA
- Honeywell Corporation
- Kent Narrows Chapter of CCA MD
- The Maryland Aquatic Resources Coalition (MARC)
- Maryland Charter Boat Association (MCA)
- Maryland Legislative Sportsmans Foundation and Caucus
- Maryland Saltwater Sport Fishermens Association (MSSA)
- The Mitchell Petersen Family Foundation
- Perry Hall Chapter of MSSA
- Shell Oil Corporation
- Solomons Charter Boat Association
- Somerset County Charter Boat Association
- Southern Maryland Chapter of CCA MD
- Southern Maryland Chapter of MSSA
- St. Marys Charter Boat Association
- The Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project