WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) announced today that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded a $156,101 federal grant to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for a restoration project in the Choptank River Habitat Focus Area. This project includes oyster restoration efforts that will increase the population of native Eastern oysters in the Little Choptank River and Tred Avon River as well as the installation of a living shoreline in the area surrounding Hambleton Island to address erosion and ensure coastal and community resilience.
“We cannot allow our commitment to oyster restoration waver, because a healthy Chesapeake Bay means a healthy economy. This federal investment in our oyster restoration efforts demonstrates a commitment to both,” said Senator Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “Our oysters filter our water, provide an important source of food for our families and an important source of income for our watermen. I’ll keep fighting to ensure our partners at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Choptank River Habitat Focus Area have the resources and funding they need to continue their important work.”
“The Chesapeake Bay is vital to the environmental and economic success of our state – and a thriving oyster population is central to a healthy Bay and the livelihood of our watermen. As we continue to push the Administration and the Army Corps of Engineers to prioritize oyster restoration, we are fighting hard for federal investments in programs like the Choptank River Habitat project. I will keep working to restore our Bay and support our watermen,” said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Senate Appropriations and Budget Committees.
The Choptank River Complex was selected by NOAA as a Habitat Focus Area—a place where multiple NOAA offices and outside partners focus efforts to achieve healthier habitat. In the Choptank area, NOAA and partners are restoring degraded oyster reef habitat to increase native oyster populations and are rebuilding important fish habitat, researching the benefits of oyster reef ecosystem services, and conducting living resource assessments. This work improves management by encouraging complementary conservation actions across federal, state, and local government and engages local communities to ensure their increased involvement in and ownership of the protection and restoration of coastal habitats.