WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today welcomed an announcement by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, that it had awarded a $1-million contract to resume the construction of oyster reefs in the Tred Avon River Oyster Sanctuary in Talbot County, Md. The award of the construction contract, which had been temporarily stalled earlier this year owing to a state-requested delay, will allow for the construction of at least 8 acres of new reefs between December 2016 and March 2017.
“The science is clear that oyster sanctuaries are performing at or beyond their goals and that funding oyster sanctuaries is exactly the type of investment we should be making in the Chesapeake Bay’s recovery. Oyster sanctuaries also are showing us the potential for transformative environmental improvements possible when federal, state and local partners work closely together and toward the same goals,” said Senator Cardin. “Awarding the construction contract before the end of this fiscal year should mean that a considerable expanse of newly restored habitat is in place by next spring’s spawning season, re-claiming a critical measure of momentum on this specific project and the over-arching effort to restore oyster populations in five Maryland tributaries.”
To date, partners have completed construction activities on 16 of the 78 acres identified for the construction of new reefs; up to 71 additional acres of existing reefs in the Tred Avon sanctuary have been identified as viable locations for the placement of spat-on-shell (young oysters). The Army Corps awarded the contract to Blue Forge LLC, a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business.
Less than a month ago, U.S. Senators Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had awarded $800,000 to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to help support the Chesapeake Bay oyster restoration effort. Also this month, Senator Cardin successfully fought to include a provision in the Senate-passed Water Resources Development Act that increases the authorization for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Chesapeake Bay Oyster Recovery Program in Maryland and Virginia from $60 million to $100 million.