Healthy Oysters Make a Healthy Bay
Dear Bay Weekly:
Oysters are the lifeblood of Chesapeake Bay. But a healthy oyster population walks a very narrow tightrope, maintaining a delicate balance between water that is too low in salt and water that is too high. Three years of the worst drought in 50 years have tipped the balance as the Bay has become so high in salt that disease has overwhelmed the oysters, creating a potential economic and ecological disaster.
Help is on the way in the form of a very successful federal, state and local partnership focused on habitat restoration and research into oyster diseases. The idea is to give Mother Nature a jump-start.
Despite the drought, approximately 55 million new oysters have been seeded in sanctuaries off limits to harvesting. The University of Marylands hatchery in Cambridge has helped plant shell beds for protected harvest reserves. This research center also studies oyster strains that may be more resistant to disease.
The Oyster Recovery Partnership has also done a remarkable job with Maryland Department of Natural Resources and watermen in creating large restoration areas. In fact, 15.5 million oysters have been seeded in sanctuaries in the Choptank River with another 15.5 million in the Chester River.
Communities near the Bay are also involved. A good example is work done by the Severn River Association on wetland and marsh restoration and oyster sanctuaries.
Some experts have suggested introducing Asian oysters, which are found on the West Coast, into the Bay because they are more resistant to diseases. But scientists are concerned that introducing any new species into the Bay might have an adverse effect on its ecosystem.
The problems facing the Bay are not easily solved, but through the kind of partnerships that have been created, we are seeing significant progress.
Benjamin L. Cardin, Congressman: Marylands Third District
Sunday Hunting is great Idea
Dear Bay Weekly:
Re Mary Marshs letter Why Sunday Hunting is a Bad Idea [Vol. X, No. 21, May 23].
My first point is simple. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has been proposing this bill for at least 10 years. Sunday hunting gives hunters who work five days a week an extra day to hunt. That the deer population needs to be controlled is beyond any dispute. If Ms. Marsh or anyone from the Maryland Conservation Council has a better solution, lets hear it.
Second Point: We hire wildlife biologists to handle these problems. Many have masters degrees in game biology. Some have doctorates. Why do we pay them wonderful salaries to manage our wildlife if we are going to disregard their opinions?
Third Point: I have hunted deer in Calvert, Charles, St. Marys, Dorchester, Talbot, and Anne Arundel counties for the last 40 years. I have never seen a hiker or invasive plant removal crew. I have never seen a birder, except for myself. I have never seen an equestrian. I have never seen a bicyclist. I have never seen a picnicker. For those that arent up to date, picnickers was one of the reasons that Governor Glendening vetoed the bill. Picnickers! In the woods on private property on the last weekend in November having a picnic!
I have no idea who the Maryland Conservation Council is. I wouldnt mind if you learned about the tremendous damage that white-tailed deer are doing to Maryland crops and the awesome penalties Maryland drivers are paying in insurance costs for deer/automobile collision expenses.
Jack Lewnes, Port Republic
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