Gov. Wes Moore announces millions in funding to support Oyster Recovery Partnership


MARYLAND – Maryland Governor Wes Moore says he plans to keep Eastern Shore watermen at the top of his list of priorities. Wednesday, Gov. Moore announced $13.7 million in capital grant funding, and a $9.1 million contract for the non-profit Oyster Recovery Partnership.

“The funds awarded today will help ensure that some of Maryland’s most renowned institutions and most important economic drivers will continue to thrive and grow,” said Gov. Moore in a release. “We are committed, through these investments, to moving Maryland forward.”

The Oyster Recovery Partnership collects recycled shell, and plants hatchery-reared oysters for reef construction in Harris Creek and the Little Choptank, Tred Avon, St. Mary’s, and Manokin rivers. The funding will support ongoing and upcoming efforts to enhance native oyster populations. It will also help meet the goals of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement of 2014, as well as Maryland’s Oyster Restoration and Aquaculture Development Plan.

“This significant project is the largest oyster restoration project on the planet,” said Maryland Department of Natural Resources Acting Secretary Josh Kurtz in a release. “We’ve met 99% of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement minimum threshold for oyster restoration in our tributaries and 77% of the high threshold. It’s been an absolute restoration success in Harris Creek, the Little Choptank, Tred Avon, and St. Mary’s—and soon, the Manokin.”

The grant programs are administered through the Maryland Department of General Services’ Capital Grants Office.

“These grants are great investments for Maryland’s arts, sciences, culture, community, and health,” said Maryland Department of General Services Acting Secretary Atif Chaudhry in a release. “The department takes great pride in assisting these organizations with their ability to update, expand, or renovate their facilities.”

The Maryland Board of Public Works also approved $1 million for the Department of Natural Resources to conduct surveys to identify oyster habitats and plant hatchery-reared oysters on reefs in the Eastern Bay sanctuaries of the Chesapeake Bay.

Tuesday, as Gov. Moore met with constituents in Easton, he remarked that watermen are often left out of the conversation when it comes to policy making. Adding, he plans to change that over the next four years.

“These policies are happening, and these bills are being passed. [Watermen are] watching how they were being passed, and they were never, ever part of the conversation. We’re being very intentional, and very deliberate, that that’s not going to be the way things work with our administration,” said Gov. Moore. “The policies that we are looking to build out in our state, to make our state both more competitive and more equitable, will include the voice of the watermen community as well.”

Categories: Environment, Local News, Maryland, Money