Working Food and Farmscapes
Lamonte Garber explains REAP

New Reef Initiative Launched

Mari 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.

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. 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 The plan is both a historical reference document of past artificial reef work in Maryland waters, and a planning and management tool for future reef development.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. To view the entire plan (1.3 MB) go to http://www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/reefs/MDReefPlanFinalDraft.pdf. Send comments to Martin Gary (mlgary@dnr.state.md.us).

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