Bay Journal

Topics: Politics + Policy

Feds give qualified OK to dredge oyster shells from Man O’ War Shoal

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After years of scrutiny, federal regulators have given a qualified green light to a controversial Maryland plan to dredge old oyster shells from an ancient reef near Baltimore — a project intended to enhance oyster habitat elsewhere in the Chesapeake Bay, but also to help the sagging commercial fishery.

The Baltimore District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a provisional permit on May 17 to the state Department of Natural Resources to take up to 5 million bushels of shells from Man O’ War Shoal just outside the mouth of the Patapsco River and use the shell to replenish or rebuild oyster reefs at other Bay locations.

The Corps’ conditional approval comes after nearly three years of effort by the DNR to address questions and concerns raised about the project, which is opposed by environmentalists, recreational anglers and even some watermen.

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About Politics + Policy

Managing the Chesapeake Bay requires sound policies that reduce pollution and protect ecosystems within it’s 64,000-square-mile watershed. Those policies — often expensive — not only need to be scientifically sound, but must be defensible in the political process at the national, state and local levels. A robust debate is often part of that process. Ultimately, the success of efforts to protect the region’s environment require both sound policy making and political support.

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